Jewelry Collection Stories: Lindsey of @ParkAvenueAntiques

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I’ve followed Lindsey of Park Avenue Antiques for a very long time! My first interaction with her was sort of humorous–I remember being on my way out the door to go antiquing for the day with my mom and sister. I was waiting on a ring to go up on the auction block so I unpleasantly made them wait until it did, not realizing it wouldn’t be until another 45 minutes. I can’t remeber exactly why I lost out on the ring, but while in the car finally on our way, I took a screenshot of the ring and posted it on Instagram with the caption, “Who outbid me on this portrait ring?! Confess!!” Lindsey was sweet enough to message me to tell me she had been the final bidder on it and graciously offered it for sale. A story too good to be made up, I’ve treasured that ring ever since! Over the years, we’ve continued to follow each other–even one point I tried meeting up at an antique show, but kept missing her! Hopefully meeting will be in the cards for us in the future, but until then…let’s check out her amazing jewelry collection!

Like many of you, I have been attracted to sparkly things for as far back as I can remember. As a little girl, I collected rocks and minerals, little buttons and sea glass. My father was an antiques dealer and the two of us were always on an “antiquing adventure”. One of our favorite places to visit was Roycroft Antiques in East Aurora, NY. They had a wooden whisky barrel filled with buttons and beads and I would dig through that barrel until my hands were black! Who knows what I thought I’d find in there! It was all about the hunt….

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I share this silver filigree necklace with my daughter Cameron. The three Edwardian silver bears represent her and her two brothers.

Around the age of 5, we moved to Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was a difficult transition. My parents both worked two jobs and I was home alone a lot. My mother always found ways to show me how much I was loved and that she was thinking of me. She came up with a hide and seek game we called “Rubber Legs” which involved hiding a yellow plastic figure. Before she left for work in the morning, she would hide Rubber Legs somewhere for me to find. Then I would hide him somewhere for her. I almost always hid him in her antique spool cabinet/jewelry box. It was a magical place where I wasn’t supposed to “dig around” but I couldn’t help myself! There were sparkly rings, beautiful strings of trade beads, flapper necklaces and cameos. She had all kinds of treasures but my favorite piece was a little gold acorn charm that rattled when shaken.

Once we moved to Hershey, adventures in antiquing with dad still continued. He opened an antique lighting shop in Adamstown, PA in the Black Angus Antiques Mall. Most Sundays I would tag along to help him but really spent most of my days with other dealers. I was fascinated with their knowledge in various fields and eager to hear their stories. This is where my love for jewelry and antiques really started.

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LEFT: Georgian sapphire and rose cut diamond bow brooch in silver topped gold, purchased at the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show

When collecting jewelry became a serious passion, I invested in books. Jewelry books on private collections, construction, symbolism, intaglios, various periods and markings. My jewelry library has helped me to educate myself and develop a true respect for the craftsmanship and symbolism that these pieces hold. I try to add one book to my collection every month. I would encourage any aspiring jewelry collector to do this as well.

RIGHT: Eight years ago, I was newly divorced and the only jewelry I had was my and my grandmothers wedding ring. I put some money aside and decided I’d like to create a piece of jewelry that would represent my family. I hoped to create a ring that could be passed on to one of my children. The first jeweler I went to was a rather unpleasant experience. I nearly gave up on my idea but decided to give it one more try. This is when I met Skip Colflesh, the owner of The Jeweler’s Bench in Hershey, PA. He helped me create the perfect ring. We used the diamonds in my grandmothers wedding ring, my engagement ring and each of the children’s birthstones. The first time I saw the ring it was an emotional experience. It was a perfect representation of my life’s journey. The diamonds no longer felt like the loss of a loved one or a failed marriage – they were now something beautiful and very personal. But more than that, I was so grateful for the friendship that had come out of designing the ring together. Skip has become one of my dearest friends and also my mentor. Friends make all the difference.

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I really don’t have a specific type of jewelry or period that I collect. I am mostly drawn to gemstones and figural pieces but my collection is quite varied. My most heavily worn pieces of jewelry are my watch chains. I love connecting them together for different looks and wearing them with various pendants.

Here are a few of my favorite necklaces:

LEFT: Painted enamel mourning locket depicting a young girl and her dog. It reads “Mary Rutherfurd Prime April 16, 1810 – Died September 9, 1835”

SECOND FROM LEFT: Opal pendant from Arts & Crafts Movement. This pendant reminds me of my favorite spring flower, lilac, and the opals are absolutely electric. I bought this in an antique store in England.

THIRD FROM LEFT: Not easy to pick a favorite, but if I had to, this would be it! Raj Era moonstone pendant from @saintespritofchelsea Beautifully crafted in silver and gold with huge shimmering moonstone cabochons.

CENTER: 19th c Kerosang with faceted white zircon.

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Here are a few of my favorite rings:

Victorian era amethyst and pearl serpent ring was purchased from David Ashville of Ashville Fine Arts.

The kunzite and diamond ring I bought from @blackamooruk. I believe this ring was originally an early 20th century brooch that was carefully converted. I love the size of the kunzite and it fits my finger perfectly.

The Victorian topaz ring was purchased from @ishyantiques.

The art deco moonstone ring is one of my favorites. It was purchased from Brad Wilson of Wilson’s Estate Jewelry in Philadelphia, PA.

The massive cameo ring I created using a 19th century cameo from @antiquestoreinwayne and a custom gold setting created by Skip Colflesh @thejewelersbenchofhershey.

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LEFT: Agate tree ring – This is one of my creations. I used an agate sourced from an old cufflink mounted in a setting made by @thejewelersbenchofherehey Victorian chrysoberyl and gold band @westandsonjewellery

RIGHT: This is my most recent purchase. My dear friend Will @martindaleasianarts recently took me on a day trip to a quaint town about an hour outside of London where I found it in an antiques shop.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I am honored to be a part of the Instagram jewelry community. Your posts have greatly enhanced my knowledge and appreciation for all types of jewelry and the friendships that have developed because of our shared passion for jewelry are priceless to me.

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Lindsey –> @ParkAvenueAntiques

Source: GossipGem.com

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Precious Stones: 1920s Gemstone Postcards from the British Museum

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Turquoise Spodumene Spinel Sapphire Rhombohedral Quartz-1 Hexagonal Euclase+etc. Entrance Emerald Diamonds Beryl

I sometimes get lost in Pala International’s “Gemformation” — a series of newsletters that comes out monthly and is compiled and backdated on their website. So much valuable information, much of it straight from the desk of the infamous Bill Larson, world-renowned gem and mineral expert. If you’re unfamiliar I highly recommend reading his story-book bio on his website, it is fascinating to say the least!

In the July 2016 edition, I was incredibly gaga over the collection of gemstone postcards created by the British Museum. The story goes, “According to a story by postcard-collector John Taylor in the Jan/Feb 2009 edition of Rocks & Minerals, these cards were printed in about the 1920s by Waterlow & Sons. The firm was an engraver of currency, postage stamps, and stock and bond certificates. James Waterlow’s son Sydney (1822–1906) eventually became Sheriff of the City of London, during which time he was knighted, and later became that city’s Lord Mayor.”

Each one is a piece of art and the colors are magnificient. Thanks to Bill Larson for digitizing these in the best way possible. There are forty cards total, all of which can be seen here. I’ve included quite a few favorites in this blog post–it was hard to narrow down my absolute favorites!

If you like information like this, feel free to sign up for the PalaGems’ Gemformation newsletter:

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Kate of @LuxCharmJewelry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Kate –> @LuxCharmJewelry

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What is the Best Gem Show in Tucson? AGTA GemFair, A Must See!

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Outside of AGTA Gem Fair where you can pull up and valet your car–my parking skills thinks this is a great idea

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Oh my opals! From Exhibitor Only Beads based out of Atlanta

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Freaked for this huge yellow sapphire from Mayer & Watt

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Both photos above were found at Under the Crown Jewelry — the carved scarab moonstone struck a cord with me and I loved learning about their Crown Jubilee faceted diamonds, their trademarked diamond cut which is fashioned from an Old Mine or Old European cut diamond. There are two sets of crown facets and two sets of pavilion facets. It’s the only diamond that has the crown and pavilion in perfect harmony!

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The view above–AGTA is huge, with over 300+ exhibitors, you truly need AT LEAST two days to cover the show–for me I took two days, plus a third day to come back to buy some things that kept haunting me.

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These types of set ups lead to a treasure hunt unlike any other! Whether you have a piece of jewelry in mind you’re designing or just let yourself gravitate toward certain stones…it is a fun experience!

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If I want to see the cream of the crop, I visit Omi Prive where I got to try on incredible sapphires, emerald, zircon and tsavorites. Amazing!

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I loved the concept that Pala International devised with these “Collectors Sets” of gems–each a unique assortment of gemstones, perfect for a collector or connoisseur.

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Gold rush has come over the AGTA Gem Fair! Lots of vintage goodies from Excalibur Jewelry

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Left: a yummy watermelon tourmaline from Kimberly Collins Gems

Right: an insanely perfect specimen of chrysocolla from Rare Earth Mining Co.

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Seriously enchanted by these kite-shaped emeralds from Manak–these need to be rings ASAP!

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Just browsing the many aisles upon aisles of gems, jewels, and treasures at AGTA.

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Left: more watermelon tourmaline and Right: some insane opals from exhibitor Robert Shapiro

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No caption needed–you may be already able to tell these insane gems and rings are Omi Prive.

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Opals of different patterns and translucency all in one display! These are from Joel Price Inc.

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More favorite finds: the two inlay stone pieces are from Rare Earth Mining Co. and I think they are my favorites of the entire Tucson trip! Left shows more opals, which I loved this unique display–really showed off each one individually.

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Some incredible rings from Excalibur Jewelry, spanning all different ages and styles.

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Loved learning about sunstones from Desert Sun Mining & Gems–each one is mined in Oregon (I even have a map and dvd to learn even more)!

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As you may have guessed, I spent some serious time at the Excalibur booth, just because antique jewelry is my main love. All of these rings are special in their own way and I just loved this diamond bow necklace featuring a giant emerald cut emerald!

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One of the “Collectors’ Sets” from Pala International–love the variety of shapes, sizes and varieties of gems.

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Pairing gemstones is quite the task–these gemstone pairs from Kimberly Collins Gems give any jeweler or designer so many options!

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Left: this huge opal lay on an exhibitor’s table with a sign that read “please touch, please take my photo” Right: colorful earrings from Campbellian Collection–can you spot the mismatched pairs?!

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I also loved these rings from Campbellian Collection–from the bright colors to the unique designs, so good!

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Some gemstones cut by the master Clay Zava featured here–including the snowcone cut which is slightly out of focus on the bottom.

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Are you planning your trip for next year yet?? I feel like by now you might be!

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Of course Mayer & Watt would have some insane trapiche emeralds–what amazing earrings would these make?!

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Left: myself with the very talented Clay Zava of Zava Mastercuts, Right: Mayer & Watt was proud to present this incredible 190 ct aquarmarine sculpture with under-the-sea motifs like an octopus and other sea creatures carved into the piece. It is called “Love at First Sight” and was created by Susan Allen & Michael Cristie. Also included in the piece is a 470 c. chrysoprase, a 10.3 mm Tahitian pearl and 0.63 ctw of diamonds in 18k yellow gold.

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From Lightning Ridge mine in Australia, this incredible opal featured at exhibitor Joel Price at AGTA.

I haven’t made the journey out to the desert for the Tucson Gem Shows in five years! Can you believe it?! I’m usually focused on the Miami Antique Show and for the first time in years, the two shows don’t overlap as much as they usually do–that makes me very happy and also very travel worn, but I’m up for the challenge!

The AGTA Gem Fair has been happening since 1981 and is a tradeshow that is open to wholesale only, where they cater to those stores, designers and clients who are discerning, looking to find the best jewelry, gemstones, and so much more. There are several aspects about AGTA that sets it apart from other gem shows in Tucson during this week, and when attending your first AGTA Gem Fair like myself, you quickly learn and take notice! This year’s show spanned from January 31st-February 5th, at the Tucson Convention Center–a glorious facility with all the necessary features for a large tradeshow. A huge plus for AGTA show-attendees is the fact that you can shop and buy with confidence knowing each exhibitor is a Member of the AGTA. Every exhibitor is a United States or Canada-based professional, who adhere to a rigorous code of ethics. Quality, value and selection–all high standards of AGTA, providing sources you can trust.

Other great features include valet parking–which my rental car would like to personally thank AGTA for this, as I nicked my car a few times trying to parallel park in Tucson. Good times. Also, the variety of food trucks outside the show was really cool! We all have been there before–super hungry during a tradeshow with limited options for dining. This was such a neat way to remedy hunger and also be on trend–because everyone loves a food truck! And other perks including some obvious-yet-vital things like air conditioning! Yes, the desert gets toasty in late January/early February, and with most shows outdoors in the sun, we sometimes forget how nice an indoor, air conditioned show can be!

My first day at the show, I just come off a four hour plane ride + two hour car drive, so I knew exactly where to head on the show floor–the antique jewelry vendors!! I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were actually a few and they each easily gave me life. I enjoyed oogling over Excalibur’s jewels and Under the Crown’s diamonds, of course learning a thing or two, as I always do from my antique friends. I may or may not have bought something amazing from Excalibur on day three–just because I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and although the piece was supposed to be for a client of mine, I’m 89% sure I’m now keeping it for myself. Oh lord, I need help.

Day two of the AGTA show included exploring every aisle and seeing what I could find! Certain gemstones caught my attention–chrysocolla, sunstones, insane opals, fancy kite-shapes, etc. I was mesmerized by everything from Rare Earth Mining Co. and died a little when I saw some of the inlay pieces. Every single booth had something unique and if I had LOTS of money to spend, I would buy one thing from each exhibitor, most definitely. I remember someone saying that the people roaming the aisles is like a Who’s Who among jewelry designers, and you’ll likely get star-struck on many occasions. This was totally true! Running into some of my favorite designers was definitely a perk of attending the show and seeing each one in his or her own element, focusing in on designing and finding the right stones was fun.

My last day in Tucson was supposed to be roaming the highway shows and I actually ended up finding myself back at AGTA! There were several pieces that kept haunting me and I knew I had to come back to make them my own. I also wanted to spend some time at the Mayer & Watt booth because not only are Simon’s gems incredible but he always has a keen sense on the gem industry and what is currently going on. I also am a big fan of his app–called Mayer & Watt–if you download it, you will see an entire database of gems! Both inventory and sold items are pictured, along with a Gemipedia, which gives you LOTS of information about each stone. The app is fun to go through and also done really well, most importantly the photography is gorgeous! So you must download it when you get the chance!!

I know many of you loved seeing my updates from Tucson and are wanting to plan ahead for next year already! Well you’re in luck, AGTA already has announced next year’s dates–so put January 30th-February 4th, 2018 in your calendar! I know I already am counting down the days (and saving my money lol)!

What a fun trip this has been–special shoutout to Abby of @nomadgold for being my sidekick, helping me with photography and convincing one another to YES buy that, definitely! Also thank you to AGTA for providing accommodations while in Tucson.

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Beadfest Summer 2016 part II

Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work.

Whenever I show the pieces that I made at Beadfest to my relatives, they ask with wonderment – “How did you make so much in four days?” My answer was and is that after years of instructing students to concentrate in class, I took my own advice and applied it to the workshops. Still, I too was amazed to see how much one can accomplish with hard work. But it wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have wonderful and generous instructors. I spoke about Jean Breaderoe and Marti Brown in the part one of the Beadfest post. In this post, I would like to share my experiences of the other two workshops that I attended with Richard Salley and Lisel Crowley.


Day 3: Stacking Stones
When I was selecting workshops to attend, I was very particularly that I learn at least 4 different skills. I chose metal as my common link and wanted to pick one metal clay, one coloring or patina, one bezel setting and an another class for some extra soldering input. I kept changing the classes to fit into the available time, skill level and their affordability. But, however, I chose I kept coming back to the stacking stones class by Richard Salley. His pieces looked so chunky and store bought (meaning so well made that it could be casted using a machine mould) I backed off thinking that I don’t have enough soldering experience to do justice to it and then he wanted us to bring tools. How was I going to carry saw blades and hammers on an international flight? Finally, I summoned up some courage and wrote to him. He was very sweet and offered to teach me if I was interested. Ofcourse, I was interested! He stayed true to his word at the workshop and taught me very patiently, calling me “Little girl” all the while 🙂
In a few hours, I learned how to size a cab, drill a hole in an agate cab (it was super hard!!), make a bezel, saw the backplate, make silver balls, rivets stones, set a stone, and solder a ring base to the bezel. I did that all at one shot for the first time. My very first bezel was a perfect fit for the stone OMG!! Though I melted one of the silver beads during the final solder and had a normal redo with the riveting (flaring) the turquoise stone setting to agate, the ring turned out to be pretty decent.

I was super thrilled that I bought more silver from him to try and set a chunky lapis lazuli cab that I had bought in Mt.Abu in 2012. Then disaster struck at every stage, I melted the bezel wire, burnt away silver beads and my base plate became shapeless. How much ever I tried I couldn’t fix it, even after Richard taught me how. By this time, even those participants who were trying complicated cutouts for their first piece had finished them and left. But Richard was extremely patient, and he fixed the bezel for me and showed me how to smooth a setting over a large stone. The “D” is slightly tilted and the texturing has flared out the metal in a couple of places but overall I am happy with it. So I patina-ed and sealed it after coming home but I am yet to string it.


Day Four – Romancing the Stone
On the final day I took up he Precious metal clay class with the PMC queen Lisel Crowley. I am not a clay person to begin with, so I took up this class to challenge myself knowing fully well that I will not be working with PMC anytime in the near future as its very expensive and I don’t have a kiln to fire my pieces in. As expected I didn’t enjoy this class much. My clay was extremely dry and it had to be reconditioned many times and I had to redo my bezel over 5 times as it kept cracking. Also the stone that I initially picked turned out to be too big for the amount of clay that we were given so I had to change my design as well. But somehow I figured things out and made one Art Nouveau style vine pendant and another mini charm using a cubic zirconia stone that I had with me and scraps of leftover clay.

I did learn a lot about what not to do with clay in this class – like, if you want a textured impression at the back plate then you must be careful during the final cleanup before firing and you must not sand after dehydrating but after firing. I also found that cold hands like mine are actually an advantage when working with PMC.


I brushed it clean, patinaed and sealed this piece after I came back but I am yet to string it or wear it. I like the fact that it is quite heavy and looks like an antique heirloom (probably worn by some medieval princess)


I cannot conclude writing about my beadfest experiences without mentioning all the wonderful people I met there. Everyone was so friendly and even extra nice when they found out that I had come all the way from India.I had a fan girl moment when I clicked a selfie with the Susan Lenart Kazmer of Ice Resin and Justin Russo of Ranger inks. I cannot forget the ever helpful and ever Ellie who manned Beadfest’s FB page and answered all my queries patiently. On the second day after the niobium I met Lori Schneider and Robin Showstack who stayed with me as roommates for the rest of the fest. It was so much fun being with them – listening to their stories, learning from their experiences and at night showing off each others haul of the day. I have never stayed with or even spent a lot of time with people (in person of course, nah, Social media doesn’t count!) who share my love for all things jewelry in a very long time. Thank you guys for making my beadfest trip very enjoyable and memorable.
If I ever get an opportunity to attend beadfest or a similar event with beads and jewelry I would definitely be there. It the meanwhile I need to work on my completely diminished physical health and slightly shaky financial health and get back to normal boring life.
I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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Book Review: GEM the Definitive Visual Guide

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

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

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

 

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Budget Shopping in USA

My last post on Beadfest beads was filled with photographs of colorful beads.

My last post on Beadfest beads was filled with photographs of colorful beads. This one on what I bought is a little duller – monochromatic as I mostly bought metal or metallic paints. You can buy anything and everything you want in USA but when you are on an extremely tight budget, shopping for art or jewelry supplies can be considered a frivolous pursuit. Still, I managed to shop and here is my haul – artsy/crafty and jewelry related things that I bought at Michaels and at Beadfest. Apart from these items I shopped only for food, Disney souvenirs, and yes “Foreign” Chocolates to feed 100 hungry mouths back home 😀

Michaels
Outside the US, the word ‘Michaels’ conjures strong images of a treasure filled cave like structure (from Alladin) in the minds of crafters. You imagine endless aisles of crafting supplies that are to be reverently bought and carefully used. So when you step in to the store, it is a sort of an anticlimax moment – it is after all, just a craft store, that is going to tempt you to spends three times your budget.
I loved the flowers and art materials (at the King of Prussia store) but felt that the beads were far too expensive. Most beads sold there are from India or China and even at 50% off they were atleast twice their original price. So I bought some artistic wire, wire gauge, mini canvases, Prismacolor pencils for coloring on metal, Pebeo paints (my biggest splurge there), metallic alcohol inks, some rhinestone connectors and metal texturing plates. I also found a really cute Mickey – Minnie T shirt in the kids coloring section for $3.5 that was surprisingly well made and I wore it to Disneyworld.

My friends later told me, that they never shop at Michaels without a coupon. I didn’t have one, so I checked the price of everything in Indian web stores, their availability or lack thereof and only when I found a bargain I bought it. I swear I have never made so many currency conversion calculations in a single day at the end of which I became fluent in the multiplication table of the number 69. Inspite of my crazy calculations, I still spent about $132 there, which was 2/3rds of my shopping budget for the entire US trip. I left Michaels thanking God for wonderful relatives, who believed in giving me cash gifts, that I could spend on art supplies.

Beadfest
Since I was at Beadfest the entire weekend, I was able to look through the booths more than once which translates into – going overboard my budget even though a lot of what I wanted to buy wasn’t available to. My first bead purchase were the decoupaged and resin beads. I have great plans for the Frieda beads and the banana fiber horn. I bought a Xuron cutter for 12g-18g, hard solder paste, a cup burr (which was quite difficult to find) Apart from these I spent bulk of my budget at the Metallaferous booth buying textured metal, chain, bracelet blanks and a locket and at the Parawire booth buying (yes) more wire and 5 in 1 texturing hammer which has been on my list for 3 years now.


I also bought some UV resin to try as my students keep asking me about it, some casted metal for coloring and really cool enamel headpins which was my “best buy”. The Artist was selling it for just a dollar a bunch on Sunday afternoon as end of show special. On the last day, I finally gave in and bought some beetle wings and Afghan coins. My mom has been behind my life to get myself some swarovski or cubic zirconia earrings that look like solitaires and not wanting to disappoint her I finally found some luscious earrings with Cubic Zirconia (mine look like solitaries and hers are snowflakes) for the both of us. Also, my parents were getting our apartment painted while I was away and in the middle of all that chaos my mom lost her new (aka my old phone) and was extremely upset. So I got her some swarovski pearls because I was feeling really bad for her and put away some cash for a new phone.


Amazon
My purchase list had ren wax, polishing pads and Clauss scissors in list none of which I could get at beadfest. So just before I left Philly I had this brainwave to order them on Amazon and get them delivered to my Disney Resort. Unfortunately, only the Ren wax qualified for Prime shipping and was delivered on the last night of my stay in the US. I am still looking for people who are likely to travel to India in the next couple of months and will be willing to carry the rest for me.


Freebies
What is a good haul post without some freebies thrown in? I got awesome swag from the Ice resin booth – you guys are the best !! (the full story on this later) and some really yummy beads made by Lori Schneider who along with Robin Showstack were my roommates for a couple of days. It was so much fun being with them.



Out of the three beads, the beetle is my favourite (the hieroglyphics beads is the back of the beetle) and I am so happy to have some really cool artisan beads that I can use for challenges and contests.

I realize that I have been incredibly slow in posting about my trip and even when I do, its not in the right order. But then, with one infection after the other, I am all wiped out. All my energy is spent on just preparing for class and getting there on time, that I just don’t feel like doing anything else. Finally I made some Jewelry the past weekend for the BNB “A day at the beach” Challenge Beach sparkle necklace and Color pops necklace. Do check them out and like them to vote for me


I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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Gem Gossip Visits Alana Jewelry in Seattle, WA

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

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

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

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

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Garnet & blue enamel ring, sapphire & diamond cluster ring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Northgate Mall 401 NE Northgate Way #520

Seattle, WA 98125

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Gem Gossip Visits Metier in San Francisco, CA

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I can’t even begin to explain how excited I was to visit Metier in San Francisco on my #JewelryRoadTrip?! It was childhood relived, where I couldn’t sleep the night before–so those bags under my eyes are true life, no photoshop people. I had met Sheri about two years ago at the epic antique jewelry show in Miami…and then finally met Trina the following year (as in, a month ago) at the same show. However, prior to that I had admired their aesthetic and overall style since I first laid eyes on their website–back when jewelry was just a very small portion of their store, which carried mostly high end fashion (think, Dries van Noten and Isabel Marant). I even remember coveting a pair of Current Elliott jeans from their website, only to see them sell out in a matter of days!

Sheri and Trina have an edge to what they are doing, whether it was with clothing or jewelry–they knew how to style it, how to take immensely appealing photos, and make customers want to buy what they have to offer! When the store closed its doors back in 2012, everyone was devastated–but one thing that stayed with them was customers’ enthusiasm for the jewelry they sold. And as a matter of fact, the duo’s love for jewelry, especially the antique and estate pieces, had become an awesome passion which lucky for us, they decided to stick with! They reopened their doors, this time in a new location–Hayes Valley–with a focus on jewelry, some accessories, antiques and curiosities. Their taste in all things covetable is stronger than ever and I would measure their number of items desired per square foot at a record-breaking high.

As expected, the neighborhood Metier is located in reflects what the store feels like and is all about. Right down to the double-hung door, the enchanting deep blue walls with gold leafing, to the decor (I’m looking at you, stuffed pheasant)–the details were all there to convince any visitor that they have in fact walked into a real life jewelry box. We’ve rearranged the jewelry cases slightly for photography purposes, so some photos may not reflect the true arrangement of everything. I wanted to get in deep with my camera and shoot the stills and vignettes that Sheri and Trina style within the glass jewelry cases, because these are some of the best I’ve seen! Each piece is placed with great care, has a story to tell and beckons you to become a part of that story. I love the new designer pieces (like BCE Jewelry, Gabriella Kiss, Marla Aaron) they’ve curated for Metier because they mix extremely well with all the antique and vintage.

I had such a wonderful time playing with the incredible pieces of Metier and sadly didn’t want to leave! It was awesome to spend some time with Trina and Sheri, as we visited 20th Century Cafe afterward, which is their favorite little chill spot and absolutely adorable. I highly recommend that as your day trip if visiting San Francisco–check out Metier for a few hours and then walk over to 20th Century Cafe for lunch. Best day ever.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite items from my visit, just click on the items to shop!

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Dupuis Fine Jewelry Fall Jewels Auction Set for November 22nd, 2015

lot2 lot210 lot211 lot246 lot271 lot327 lot355 lot358 lot394 lot396

My favorite time of year for jewelry auctions is just before the holidays, as each auction house gears up for this busy time by providing some of the best, show-stopping pieces they’ve been ever-so-keenly stashing away until now. From heart-palpitating rings, to diamond-dripping earrings and everything in between, Dupuis Fine Jewelry has anything you’ve ever dreamed of in one auction–their Fall Jewels sale. The auction is scheduled for Sunday, November 22nd, 2015 where you can log-in online and bid or see the auction live in their Toronto headquarters. Some day I’d love to make it out to Toronto to visit Dupuis, but for now I’m glad I can at least tune in from the comfort of my home!

I’ve picked my favorites from the upcoming sale, as this was not an easy task! So many striking pieces, whether you collect antique or have your eye on something a little more modern, there is so much to choose from. Check out my picks above and below!

Be sure to sign-up for the auction and get approved before the big day on Sunday, November 22nd!

Lot 2: A David Webb piece unlike any I’ve seen before–this ring is set with one blue zircon surrounded by turquoise set in 18k yellow gold. The gemstone combination is very intriguing, as is the textured fluted band. Such a cool ring!

Lot 210: This brooch is very striking as you don’t see very much peridot jewelry and the color is an intense light green. I love the design work of the round stones surrounded by bezel-set diamonds in an abstract floral style. The brooch is done in 14k gold and boasts a unique pair of rectangular cut peridots.

Lot 211: A pair of micromosaic ear pendants mounted in 10k gold and dating back to mid-19th century. The Vedute di Roma dark blue glass swing pendants are decorated by polychrome tesserae, with oval tops depicting the Arch of Constantine and the Imperial Forum, with suspending teardrop shapes depicting the Colosseum and the Pantheon. So amazing!

Lot 246: Circa 1870, available with its original box, this antique quartz and gold demi-parure is a rare piece! The gold consists of heavy bead work, textured granulation and acanthus leaves…along with a pair of matching ear pendants. Such a great piece of history right here.

Lot 271: Two sumptuous gold pieces by Henry Dunay–one is a hinged bangle bracelet and the other is a ring, both done in 18k yellow gold. If you know me personally, you know that I used to do beauty pageants when I was a little girl–these two pieces remind me of a spike crown that was the grand prize at one of the pageants that was highly sought after. Sad to say I never won that title, but winning this lot would be even better!

Lot 327: A magnificent cross, set with amethyst, pearls, peridot and diamonds. This piece caught my eye because of the matte finish and the unique gemstone combination it has. It is made by Birks and is done in 14k matte yellow gold. It even has a hinged hidden compartment in the back.

Lot 355: An emerald ring prettier than the Emerald City! An astounding 31.49 carats of emerald, entirely certified by AGS stating that its origin is Columbia. My oh my what an amazing ring! To make it even more grand, the emerald is flanked by two bullet-shaped diamonds and two trapezoid diamonds, all set in platinum.

Lot 358: Can you blame me for having an affliction for double diamond rings?! This one is having me reconsider my engagement ring–love the North-South setting of the two stones, as well as the uniqueness of the mismatched color of each Old European cut diamond. That’s about 3.75 carats total right there, all set in platinum!

Lot 394: Platinum and gold combine to create these luminous floral earrings set with diamonds and aquamarine. A total of approximately four carats worth of diamonds curve around the leaf-settings creating a floral motif which decorates the ear lobe in the most festive way.

Lot 396: A fully set aquamarine necklace which drips of aquamarine and diamond icicles–what a glorious holiday gift this would make?! The necklace is mounted in 14k gold, with Russian assay marks and maker’s mark for Vassili Efimovitch Baladanov, and the length: 15 3/4 inches.

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Dupuis Auctions.

Dupuis Auction November 22nd

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