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!

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Doyle & Doyle Debuts Rare Collection of Antique Jewels

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Doyle & Doyle is thrilled to debut pieces from a spectacular cache of rare antique jewels, all acquired from a single collector. Including jewelry from ancient Rome, 17th century Spain, and 19th century France, these are the best examples of their type and many are hallmarked by well known jewelers. Keep reading for a sneak peek of the historic collection before it goes on exhibition at Doyle & Doyle in September.

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These exquisite micromosaic pieces date to the mid-19th century and are hallmarked for the Vatican Workshop of the Papal State.The Vatican’s mosaic studio was founded in the 16th century, its skilled artisans create artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons and pieces for the Pope to give as gifts. The Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo, Saint Peter’s Square designed by Bernini, and Raphael’s “The School of Athens” are among the many masterpieces you can discover at the Vatican. Originally founded in the 16th century, the skilled artisans working in the Vatican’s mosaic studio create pieces for the Pope to give as gifts and artworks commissioned by wealthy patrons. They also oversee and maintain the ten thousand square meters of colorful mosaics that adorn Saint Peter’s Basilica. This bangle and brooch are beautifully made, featuring glass tesserae so tiny that the designs look like paintings in shades of red, blue, green, and white. Perhaps a wealthy young man purchased them during his Grand Tour through Europe, or they were gifts to an important Church official. No matter their origin, they are little works of art that display the incredible skill of the Vatican’s workshop.

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The collection includes other ecclesiastical jewels in addition to the Vatican micromosaics, including a variety of gem-set and enameled crosses from many different periods. This striking dimensional crucifix cross is Spanish from the 17th century, detailed with enamel and engraving that resembles wood grain. Although probably not original, we love it worn on the black ribbon choker, especially when layered with antique gold guard chains. Although these are museum quality jewels, they’re definitely wearable!

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There are also charming examples of sentimental and devotional jewelry. The rose cut diamond encrusted heart hangs from a sweet rose gold dove. The diamonds are foil backed and you can see hints of pink, gold, and even green reflecting through the stones. The rare late 17th century Spanish reliquary pendant is a small compartment that holds a tiny bit of a saint’s blood. It’s backed by a hand painted figure of a female saint and framed by emeralds and garnets. This type of jewel was probably a private devotional artwork. Spain being an intensely Catholic country, people believed in the power of saints to affect their daily life. In additional to more traditional liturgy, 17th century Spaniards prayed to their personal saint to intervene and make their lives better.

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The other half of this incredible collection is comprised of museum quality Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau jewelry. The Arts & Crafts Movement was a direct response to the mechanization and poor working conditions engendered by the Industrial Revolution in the mid-19th century. Adherents looked to the Middle Ages, nature, and popular folk art for inspiration, seeking to return to an idyllic time before mass production. Shying away from precious materials, Arts & Crafts jewelers favored readily available gemstones, such as garnet, amethyst, citrine, opal, and moonstone. The delicate gold pendant is British, comprised of hand wrought wirework set with bright blue turquoise and glowing moonstone.

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By the end of the century, Art Nouveau artists took the theme of nature to the next level. Art Nouveau jewelry often incorporated idealized female forms with swirling, whiplash hair framed by sensuous flora, like this striking silver mirror locket. Dating to 1900, this lovely piece is hallmarked for French jeweler Lucien Coudray. Coudray specialized in engraving medals and won several prizes for his artistry. Another popular form was a winged female with gossamer enamel wings studded with tiny gems or pearls. This statuesque dragonfly woman was created around 1900 and bears the hallmark of noted Art Nouveau jeweler, Gaston Laffitte. The light filters through the translucent green plique-a-jour enamel wings, creating a delicate stained glass effect.

This is just a small preview of the incredible historic collection – want to see it all? Doyle & Doyle is putting on a public exhibition in September. Email info@doyledoyle.com for more information and to get on the invite list!

This post was contributed by Juliet Rotenberg of Doyle & Doyle, thank you!!

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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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30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry into Summertime!

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Summer is next week–can you believe it?! Are you ready?! One of my most favorite things to do in the summer is to plan activities that I wouldn’t normally get to do…this involves taking days off from work, surrounding myself with people I love, and living my best life. I also like making lists or a group of goals to complete over the summer–they can be wishful thinking or very, very serious. I thought it would be fun to put together a list of 30 Ways to Incorporate Your Love of Jewelry just in time for summer!

1. Pick a gemstone, any gemstone, and learn all about it.

2. Find a gem show that is coming to your area and attend!

3. Have a gem or mineral specimen collection? Reorganize it in a cool way.

4. Plan a trip to go gem mining.

5. Do you have a favorite Instagrammer in our jewelry community? Plan a summer meetup.

6. Pick a state that is somewhat close to you, and research the best jewelry store they have to offer. Plan a visit!

7. Make a cool treat on a hot day–these gem ice trays can be filled with any fruity liquid!

8. Find a gemstone print top, bathing suit or towel and wear it to the beach.

9. Reserve a day at the nail salon and go for a gemstone manicure!

10. Buy that jewelry book you’ve been eyeing and lay by the pool with it!

11. Scout out some amazing flowers in your city, buy them, and take some jewelry photos with them.

12. Find a new way of wearing some of your favorite pieces of jewelry.

13. Take a day to clean your most-worn pieces of jewelry.

14. Plan a SWAP party with friends that also love jewelry.

15. Pick a time period you don’t know as much about as your favorite jewelry period, and learn about it!

16. Spend an entire day “hunting” for antique jewelry online–but do it by a pool.

17. Learn about crystal healing and depending on where you live, schedule an appointment with an expert.

18. Throw a gemstone-themed party!

19. Learn about a new designer you’ve never heard of before.

20. Need a new way to store your jewelry? Splurge on a jewelry cabinet and reconfigure it if necessary.

21. Take a jewelry making class.

22. Decide on creating a charm bracelet or necklace–gather charms, buy some new ones and put it together.

23. Get something very special and sentimental made into a piece of jewelry.

24. Size all of your fingers and keep it written down.

25. Get registered to bid at your favorite auction houses.

26. Put on all your favorite Art Deco jewels and watch a 1920s old movie.

27. Hit up your local estate sales or garage sales. You never know!

28. Tell someone thank you by gifting them a piece of jewelry.

29. Get lost on Pinterest by searching “antique jewelry” or “jewelry.”

30. Pick your favorite medium (water colors, arcryllics, pencil, etc) and try drawing/painting a diamond.

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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.

Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip Vegas Antique Show | Gem Gossip

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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Q & A with Heather B. Moore Jewelry

Heather B. Moore

Heather B. Moore’s story starts with love, laughter and family…and fittingly, just as her jewelry often depicts those words both literally and figuratively, she has brought personalization of jewelry to the highest level. After viewing the video displayed below, you see just how hands-on and multi-faceted her business has become. This interview also touches upon how it all came to be, in the most innocent of ideas and forms. Sometimes we are destined for a certain path and it seems as though Heather was meant to bring memories, quotes and cherished words to life through her jewelry designs. Each piece is heavily sentimental and often instant tear-jerkers. As jewelry enthusiasts, we know how special a personalized piece can be–but how about one that is in the exact handwriting of a loved one? Or an exact doodle from your once 5-year-old son or daughter? I know if and when I start a family, Heather B. Moore‘s designs will be first on my list for a little keepsake!

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We are currently developing an exciting new series based on personal empowerment called the Sculptural Series. Its foundation stems from personalized themes people were requesting for their designs, which usually fell into four common categories: strength, growth, wisdom, and healing. With that as our guide, we started the Sculptural Series to capture moments that feel personal while complementing our other designs.

While we are only launching with a limited selection, this is just the beginning. The world is full of wonderful symbols that have meaningful messages, and Heather B. Moore jewelry is excited to add more sculptural jewelry to the collection in the future.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I only took one jewelry class in college. At the time my focus was cast glass, Venetian glass blowing, and steel work. My sister Wendy was an anthropology major and had moved to Kathmandu, Nepal where she lived with a jeweler’s family. That’s where I started getting interested in what she was doing! After college, I was working for an artist welding large-scale art installations across the country for Judy Pfaff. On the weekends, my sister Wendy used to ask me to make jewelry for fashion shows and low-budget movies in Los Angeles.

I started off doing chain work and handmade chain, which we still do today. I also integrated glass beads and stones within the chain, and while we still integrate stones into our chain, we moved away from glass beads to focus on precious stones.

In 2004, I started offering personalization on a number of pieces and everything grew from there. Our personalized collection was created on the foundation that timeless designs start with a blank canvas for our customers, then we collaborate to create the perfect piece. We have the capacity to create the steel stamps of people’s handwriting and children’s drawings as well as a wide variety of fonts and layouts.

I started collecting tools when I was 13. I grew up in the steel industry of Cleveland and loved going to my dad’s factories, so craftsmanship was something that I related to.

The first steel tooling stamps that I purchased were from a garage sale at an old machinist’s house. I carried those stamps around with me for 15 years before knew what to do with them! In 1991, I pulled out those stamps and decided to integrate quotes from my friends and family. I stamped them out onto the silver plaques and then framed it with a handmade cast glass frame.

In 1997, my sister Wendy was in a skiing accident and passed away. Before she passed I stamped a quote she gave me into a piece of metal: “I said to my sister and she said to me, come let’s play laughter together.” I remember loving the quote so much that I took the plaque with her quote off the wall, and I put it in my wallet. To this day I look at it and it makes me smile.

After moving back to Cleveland and receiving the Rising Star Award from the JCK trade show, I had an interview with Real Simple Magazine about why a designer from NYC would move to Cleveland.

During the interview the writer asked a series of silly questions like, “what kind of hair care products do I use?” and, “what is in your purse?” At first I was a little confused, but I pulled out my wallet and got the plaque of my sister’s quote, and they loved it. They photographed it and used it as the focal point of the article.

At the time, I was designing for bigger companies like Banana Republic and I was getting tired of doing trendy jewelry that was “in” one season and “out” the next. I thought it was interesting that they loved the little plaque so much, and that made me think about the unique stamps that I had in the basement, and I knew I wanted to make something for myself. So, I stamped my kids names on some silver discs, framed them in gold, and I created my first personalized necklace.

I fell in love with it because my kids would sit on my lap and flip through the charms and look for their names. That is when it hit me: personalization has more value than the material that it’s on, because personalization is forever. Telling your story is not a trend; it’s a keepsake, an heirloom, and one-of-a-kind… just like the person wearing it.

That is when I knew I was on the right track. I was putting something into the marketplace that I had actually created in 1992… it’s like it all became a full circle.

It’s amazing to think I was so young, but I’m also very proud to say that now we create our own stamps in our steel shop. It’s fun to have the opportunity to create special tooling for each individual customer.

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B. Moore | Gem Gossip

Left: the plaque Heather made, with her sister’s special quote Right: a necklace Heather wears almost everyday–it features her new Buddha charm


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I think my proudest moment was winning the Town & Country International Gold Award at the Couture Jewelry Show in Las Vegas.

This is a show where all designers get together and showcase their pieces to stores across the country. Town & Country magazine had sponsored the event, so it was super fancy that year. Most people were in black tie… but I didn’t know that! I showed up late to the party in flip-flops, jeans, a t-shirt and messy hair!

When I thought about designing something for the Gold category, I wanted something no one had yet documented. One topic that came up was that we had never documented someone’s letter, and I had the perfect one. It was a whimsical thank you note from my sister Wendy. She had sent it just days after Christmas and she spoke of the importance of family and new traditions. This was the first year I didn’t spend Christmas with my family because I was with my husband’s family in Canada, so it really hit home for me. It was the last letter I ever got from her. She passed away shortly after Christmas.

We stamped this whole letter on a big yellow gold cuff, with a rose gold frame on the outside and a green gold frame on the inside, then we covered the frame in diamonds.

We arrived late to the awards show party and had already begun to announce the winners, so we quickly grabbed a glass of wine and snuck into some seats just as the announcer said, “And the Gold Award goes to a designer from the city of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame…”

…I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, there’s another designer here from Cleveland,” but then they called my name!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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In a broad sense, my hopes, dreams, and goals are to make sure I can continue to create beautiful pieces for people and documenting their stories. I love that we have the opportunity to work with customers hand-in-hand.

And with the sculptural collection, there are so many amazing symbols that empower people. I just love the direction we are going with that!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

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I have so many pieces I love and adore! We have a wide variety of designs within the collection, and I truly love all of them. I have many iterations with my children’s names (Henry, Leo, Oliver and Coral). They are my proudest creation!

I have a yellow gold bangle with their names on it, a leather bracelet with with their names on it, and a necklace where they each have their own charm! I actually named the frames after them. The Henry frame is a braid like the Nantucket braided bracelets. The Leo frame has a granulation frame for him because he really loves the arts. Then there’s the Oliver frame. He’s really an organized child so I did a spiral frame for him. Coral’s got a bubbly personality, so her frame kind of looks like bubbles!

I like to wear my cuff bracelet that has my sister’s letter with jeans and a t-shirt, but I also wore it to the Beastie Boys black tie Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame induction.

My sister Halley and I both have a charm with Wendy’s phone number on it. She never had business cards, which we always thought was hilarious! We made it in green gold because her birthday was on Saint Patrick’s Day.

My new favorite necklace has a bunch of charms on it, and it’s a story about my boyfriend Jason and me. We went to high school together so I have one charm that says “You were worth the wait,” and another charm that says “Home is when I’m with you.” And I have a little single initial J charm for his name… and a diamond, of course!

I have a 4mm square cuff bracelet that grounds me–it says “When you look at life through the right lens, everything comes into focus.” Life certainly does throw you some curveballs sometimes… so that helps me through those challenges. The fact that I’m a photographer kind of makes it perfect! My dad gave me my first camera when I was 14 and then shipped me off to Africa with 13 rolls of film. I have been an avid photographer ever since.

I will end with this one:

I have this fantastic ring that has been dubbed “the hockey ring.” It’s my good luck ring for my boys’ games. If it’s not on my finger it’s in my wallet waiting for the next game. I did not put any personalization on it with words… and it’s really quite thick. We call it The Pope Ring at the studio! So when I’m photographing the hockey games (because all three boys are in hockey) if something happens like a goal or a good defensive play, I can bang on the glass with my ring, and I wont hurt my hand! Because of all the banging, overtime it has collected quite a few, great dents! It is essentially personalized from all the dents!

Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip Heather B Moore | Gem Gossip

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Heather B. Moore.

Heather B. Moore Jewelry

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Top Ten Best Jewelry Looks of the 2017 Met Gala

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This year’s theme for the evening’s Met Gala was “The Art of the In-Between”. The exhibit offers a retrospective of designer Rei Kawakubo of the famed design house Comme des Garçons. Stars and socialites embraced the juxtaposition of redefining the traditional placement of jewelry by wearing key pieces around the ear, in the hair and in some cases even backwards. The red carpet dazzled with both futuristic, avant-garde statement pieces and traditional vintage diamonds from iconic jewelers.

Below is a selection of the most striking examples we found to be featured on the red carpet. We are counting down our top ten looks, including the above look worn by Chinese fashion model Liu Wen.

1. Liu Wen wearing Chanel fine jewelry, photos via NY Mag.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

2. Claire Danes wore an antique yellow gold and seed pearl earrings and antique cut steel arrow brooch, circa 1850, worn in the hair by Fred Leighton.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

3. Karen Elson stuns in Tiffany & Co. earrings and ring.

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4. Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen wearing a plethora of what looks like vintage baubles.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

5. Actress Elle Fanning wore an Art Deco aquamarine and diamond bandeau, circa 1920s, in platinum along with 6.0 tcw diamond studs in platinum by Fred Leighton.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

6. Kate Bosworth wore vintage ruby and diamond earrings and a vintage diamond necklace by Cartier.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

7. Katie Holmes wore a fabulous set of antique diamond and paste necklaces from Kentshire.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

8. Kerry Washington wore a safety- pin choker by Michael Kors Collection.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

9. Sarah Paulson wore custom Calder-inspired sapphire in oxidized gold chandelier earrings by Irene Neuwirth.

Met Gala | Gem Gossip

10. Cassie wore a custom-made diamond ear cuff by Indonesian designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi.

All above photos via Getty images.

This post was collaboratively written by:

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

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Q & A with Mother/Daughter Duo of Charmco

Charmco | Gem Gossip

There are quite a few jewelry businesses that feature mother-daughter duos in this industry. Each one having a story rich in passion, a love for what they’re doing AND for one another, and above all, a special bond you truly can’t have with anyone else. Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and jewelry is a wonderful and powerful gift to give any mother–but a charm that has significance and meaning, one that connects you two together will make her heart sing! Even better if you get that charm from Charmco, a mother-daughter run business that has been deeply connected to charms and promotes this in every way possible! After hearing their story, you’ll not only want to start your own charm collection (if you haven’t already), but also buy your mom a personalized charm for her to unwrap on Mother’s Day!

Q1 | Gem Gossip

It started with my grandma Boomie’s charm bracelet. I remember when she would visit my sister and I would go over each and every charm and beg her to tell us what they were and she would have fun telling us stories. My mother inherited the bracelet and decided to use a few of these special charms to build a bracelet for us. ​She searched for the rest of the charms to make the bracelets meaningful to us; I lived in NYC and worked in communications while my sister was working on a farm in Bali so you can imagine how different the bracelets could be! It was hard to find great charms to add so it took quite a while. When she gifted us the bracelets, needless to say we were both blown away! Wherever I wore my charm bracelet it seemed to spark a conversation- I even remember showing my charms to a stranger on the subway and going over what each little treasure meant to me. My mother had always been a collector of vintage and antique jewelry and I loved the idea of starting a business where we could help people find great charms so we launched C.H.A.R.M, an acronym for “Charms Have A Real Meaning”. An awesome name for our company but not a great one for a web based retailer so a few years later we became Charmco.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Q2 | Gem Gossip

We started traveling and educating ourselves and collecting and by Spring 2002, we began to work with private clients in NYC by appointment to make custom charm bracelets. Soon after that we developed our first website. It was an informational site which had a questionnaire in a pdf form that was downloaded by customers with questions that were supposed to reveal their true charm nature! We had piles of forms come in and we would build a sampling of their bracelet based on the answers. We were sending charm bracelet all over the US and were featured in a variety of popular magazines and had a great word of mouth business. We started doing trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman and for about 3 years we sold through Bergdorfs, Neiman Marcus and Fragments showroom and to a variety of boutiques. We moved our focus online in 2005 with an ecommerce site and now Charmco is home to over 700 collection charms all made in NYC, more than 1000 vintage charms, charm bracelets and necklaces to mix and match.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q3 | Gem Gossip

A charm bracelet or charm necklace is so personal, it tells your story, your travels and your loves– all around. It’s a piece of jewelry that’s classic so it avoids being on trend one season and out the next. It can be passed down from one generation to the next and get transformed into the next person’s wearable life story. The charms I have from my Grandmother are some of my most precious. Charm gifting, in itself, becomes a tradition. We have mothers, husbands, daughters, sisters, friends, grandmothers returning every year on the dot for another charm for their bracelet. Charm bracelets, unlike any other jewelry is a growing reflection of one’s life.

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Q4 | Gem Gossip

Some of our all time favorites are also some of the most popular charms. My absolute favorite is our Custom Calendar; a charm where your special date is marked with a Diamond and which is entirely bespoke. Other classics are an engraved monogram disc, retro baby booties that can be engraved with a birth date or a name ​and famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, which we make 4 different ways. Our all time most popular category is travel; a classic charm bracelet theme. ​New styles people are loving include our new martini glass with a Diamond olive and our elephant mom and baby charm. The martini glass is classic and has a fun diamond olive spark to it and the elephant mom and baby gets an “aww” from everyone when they see the mom carrying the little baby with her trunk.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Untitled

Q5 | Gem Gossip

We see more symbolic charms like unicorns and lightning bolts rising in popularity. The infinity symbol is a charm that’s popular at the moment and I think it’s a concept charm that people embrace right now.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Q6 | Gem Gossip

Lisa:

The charm bracelet that inspired our business has evolved through the years. I have custom calendars for each of my two daughter’s birthdays. I paired them with a mini vintage rooster and rat charm to mark their Chinese Zodiac for our three years in Hong Kong. One of my favorite charms is a movable roulette wheel with a little bead that moves with a shake and lands on a winning number. I still test my luck! I also have always cherished my devil that pops out of the martini shaker. I do like a good dry vodka martini! I’ve just started building a separate travel charm necklace and my favorite piece on this necklace isn’t the most “fantastic” charm but it means a lot to me. It’s a golden mountain range of Crested Butte Colorado where I got engaged to my husband. The day I found that charm, I also learned I was pregnant with my first daughter Audrey, so it has super special meaning!

Leslie:

I tend to think in themes and Diamonds are my birthstone. One of my favorite charm bracelets is packed with Diamond charms I have collected over the years. The light bulb charm literally “lights” up with all my good ideas! My Sputnik bracelet features five vintage gem-filled Sputniks inspired by the 1950’s space satellite. My main charm bracelet is like a short bio of my life with quirks and all. I have a vintage crystal photo globe charm with a photo of my ex husband (father to my daughters) on one side and my husband of the past 35 years on the other! I also have a vintage troll doll, which represents my era that I love and a taxi meter that rotates from vacant to occupied to forever – A classic love charm.

Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip Charmco | Gem Gossip

Top-left: Lisa’s Travel Necklace — Top-right: Leslie’s Sputnik charm bracelet

Bottom-left: Lisa’s main charm bracelet — Bottom-right: Leslie’s main charm bracelet

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This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Charmco.

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Gem Gossip Visits J.S. Fearnley in Atlanta, GA

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Q & A with Leeorah of Lulu & Shay Jewelry

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Leeorah Betan-Hartman is naturally talented in many ways, but we are so ever thankful she has chosen to hone her skills with jewelry design with Lulu & Shay. Her creations are enchanting. Her finishes are unfinished perfection. Her style is effortless cool. And I want so many of her pieces! I got the chance to meet her and her husband at Metal & Smith in September, happily trying on my favorites and seeing everything in person for the first time. Excited to catch up with her and see what she has going on in the new year!

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I am always working on new pieces for not only my next collection, but I find that I often return to the collections that are the foundation of my jewelry line, adding a nuance or a different take on the theme. Right now I am working on some new pieces for my Luna Diaries Collection– an intimate look into Victorian inspired jewelry. Victorian jewelry is rich with meaning. The carved symbols and motifs are not just pretty embellishments; each have hidden symbolism and even the gemstones have multiple meanings. I am so intrigued and amazed by the romanticism of the jewelry of that era. I feel that the rich history of these pieces mix well with the natural and flowing feeling of my pieces that are influenced by nature and our surroundings – completing a full thought and story when layered and worn together.

LuLu & Shay Jewelry | Gem Gossip LuLu & Shay Jewelry | Gem Gossip

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Even as a young child I had a deep affinity for jewelry. I would sneak into my mom’s jewelry box and try on each of her pieces of jewelry, gazing at all the different stones and colors. I also made my own jewelry as a child– first with beads and with polymer clay and then evolving into more intricate bead and wire wrap pieces. In college I earned a B.F.A. in film and pursued a fulfilling career in editing film trailers, but I missed working with my hands. I started taking classes in metal-smithing and wax carving in NYC. Wax carving allows me the opportunity to create not only more finely detailed pieces but also freer flowing and organic ones. I just love the freedom and creativity I have while working with wax.

Once I had a cohesive collection, I launched Lulu & Shay. I wanted a name that had personal meaning like the jewelry I was creating. Lulu is a nickname I had as a child, and Shay is my husband’s childhood nickname. My two passions — jewelry and film — are joined as I use the story telling nature of film to apply a narrative element in my jewelry line. Editing films requires distilling a big picture into its key elements, and I strive to mirror that in my jewelry making. Each piece can tell a story of its own while striking a personal connection with the wearer.

LuLu & Shay Jewelry | Gem Gossip

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