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.

Park Avenue Antiques

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.

Park Avenue Antiques

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

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Gem Gossip Visits Gem Jewelry Boutique in Chicago, IL

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Bracelets: Pascale Monvoisin 9k wire bracelet, Black wrap bracelet

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

the storefront of Gem Jewelry Boutique with its beautiful gold leaf

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Necklaces: Gem Token black diamond peace sign necklace, Emilie Shapiro watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire necklace, Emilie Shapiro moonstone + sapphire necklace

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love the vignettes that tell a story; displays that speak louder than words

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Some Ruth Tomlinson, Megan Thorne, Gem Token, Satomi Kawakita rings stacked on stacked — shop rings

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Gold elements, mirrors and a window of sunlight; some of my favorite parts of Gem

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Earrings: Ten Thousand Things 18k gold bead dangles, moonstone & diamond stud earrings by Gem Token

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love how every piece is displayed! Love the pieces of recycled leather to display the earrings

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Ear piercing parties are one of Gem’s newest additions–because all these studs need to be worn!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Earrings: Gabriela Artigas Asymmetrical Orbital earring, Lip studs, wwake small chain earrings

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Lips velvet pouch zipper bag on the left, Variance Objects stud earrings + ring on the right!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

“Get Lucky” Figa by Pascale Monvoisin

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

“Dope” “Mama” “Boss” bracelets by Zoe Chicco (these also come in necklaces)

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Not only does Gem sell jewelry, but other lifestyle products like candles, bags, scarves, & home goods

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Necklaces: Gem Token black diamond peace sign necklace, Emilie Shapiro watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire necklace, Emilie Shapiro moonstone + sapphire necklace

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

owner of Gem, Laura Kitsos and myself

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Rings: rough ruby by Emilie Shapiro, twin tourmaline ring by Margaret Solow, watermelon tourmaline + pink sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro —- moonstone + sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro, tourmalated quartz ring by Margaret Solow, opal + pink sapphire ring by Emilie Shapiro

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

The interior of the store was done by Laura’s husband who is a general contractor

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

I love how everything stacks and coordinates perfectly together–lots of different designers shown here!

Gem Jewelry Boutique | Gem Gossip

Our last stop before heading home from our quick but amazing #JewelryRoadTrip to Chicago was Gem Jewelry Boutique, located a few minutes outside of Chicago in Oak Park. I had to see for myself Laura’s talked about and infamous curating skills–both jewelry-wise and display-wise. She is undeniably talented when it comes to putting things together, whether it is an entire store, a single display, an outfit, or a jewelry look. Gem has been open for nearly 13 years, with four different locations over the years. Most recently they moved to a new location which opened in June of 2015 and is what you’re seeing in the photos above. It is Laura’s most favorite location out of the four she has had, and as you can see, rightfully so! Laura says, “I wanted this location to invoke a sophisticated, calming environment yet with the slight edginess that depicts Gem’s image.”

The storefront is a beautiful jewel in its own right (I love the gold-leaf on the windows) and when you walk through the front door, you are immediately met with the open and airiness of the space. It proves to be an ideal jewelry showroom. The gems and jewelry sparkle in the sunlight, and the dark gray walls with mirrored and gold accents make you feel like you’re actually inside a jewelry box. The custom sliding cases and the large cabinet against the wall were all created specially for the space, thanks to Laura’s husband Michael. Another very sentimental addition to the store--the giant antique gold mirror–which was restored and outfitted with back-lighting, was essentially a wedding present from Michael, but ended up being the perfect focal point for the store. And I can agree! I love the mirror…and I can attest to the fact that jewelry stores NEED mirrors. I think they are essential!

Laura hadn’t always been on a clear path to opening a jewelry boutique from the beginning. She was actually the one designing and creating jewelry, teaching herself along the way, taking a couple metalsmithing classes and being inspired. This was back in 1995 when she lived in Portland, Oregon. Before that, it was her grandmother Lucile, who lived to be 101 years old, who infused a passion for jewelry in Laura from a very young age. Laura reminisces, “Each time I’d see her, she’d take me into her bedroom and on the bed we’d lay out all her boxes and jewelry while she told me the story behind each piece. It was heaven to me! And at the end, she’d always give me a piece. I learned how jewelry tells a story.”

One fateful day, Laura strolled into Twist in Portland and had an epiphany. In 2004 her first store opened, mainly selling her own designs and some vintage pieces. It goes without saying that the store has evolved very much over the years, especially beginning with what is featured. About two years into having the store, Laura attended a market show in NYC and a whole new world opened up before her eyes. She became passionate about supporting and learning about other designers, especially women artisans. Laura says, “Over the years, the store has evolved in that we now carry more designers than ever and I am focusing on a finer brand. The price point has risen over the years because I am carrying designers that are reputable, unique and are not mass producing their work. I appreciate “hand made” jewelry and especially jewelry made by women. I try to curate with that point of view.”

Designers like Vale Jewelry, Brooke Gregson, Emilie Shapiro, Blanca Monros Gomez, Arik Kastan, Megan Thorne, wwake, and Ruth Tomlinson are favorites and staples amongst Gem’s lineup. One of their newest additions, Pascale Monvoisin was an Instagram discovery for the store–which proves to designers that you can be discovered on social media! Although the mix of designers is eclectic and spans different countries and different continents, they all flow together and are able to be styled easily for a cohesive look because of Laura’s eye. You may see Gem Token as one of the designers featured several times in the photos above–that is the store’s own line of jewelry! Gem is also really excited about adding a few more brands to their roster, including Rusty Thought which is coming soon!

I loved visiting Gem and if you’re in the Chicago area, you are lucky to have such a great local jewelry store! Whatever your jewelry needs are or if you need a special gift, you will leave happy. I loved seeing a few customers come into the store while I was there and each person had a better day because they chose to come inside Gem. I know I sure did!

GemJewelryBoutique

135 North Oak Park Avenue

Oak Park, IL 60301

Phone: 708-386-8400

www.shopgemjewelry.com

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New Items Added to @shopGemGossip

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New stash alert!

Wanted to let you know–if you haven’t already seen the newest additions to the @shopGEMGOSSIP page, here they all are! So many gorgeous rings–some fun opals, lots of sparkly diamonds, even a yummy green chyrsoprase. A few have already been sold and are sitting pretty in their new homes.

I do offer layaway–if you see something you might want, but don’t currently have the money you can put it on layaway. You can pay 1/3 every thirty days for 3 months–no fees! All purchases this month receive a quartz geode and a Gem Gossip pen. If you follow on Instagram @shopGEMGOSSIP I’ve also posted videos of all these rings as well–you just need to have the latest version of Instagram to view the sliding image function.

I accept PayPal, money order, checks, Venmo and credit cards. Email [email protected] for all inquiries!

xoxoGemGossip

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How to Edit your Jewelry Collection & Know When to Sell

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My jewelry collection has gone through SO MANY changes this past year. As a collector, it is important to edit your collection no matter what it is that you collect. My ring collection, for example, has shrunk by at least fifty rings recently and normally this would freak me out, but I actually feel really good about this decision. I recently came across this photo of my collection and was astonished by how many rings I actually had. A more recent photo is shown above, and you can see the amount that has been edited. This decision has allowed me to refine and be precisive about what I like, allowed me to purchase items that I thought were out of my budget, and allowed me to grow my collection in a new way (even though I was subtracting from my collection). You might be wondering how you can do the same, so I’ve put together some tips and recommendations on how you can do just that! And as always, happy collecting!

1. Although I’ve never read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, I’ve spoken with people who have and read a few blogs about this decluttering strategy. A part of me fears this technique, since I live in a world where I love my things and have way too many things, while another part of me thrives off of getting rid of stuff. It is a never-ending battle–but just as Marie teaches in her book, you must take each item and ask yourself if it sparks joy? Do this with your jewelry collection! You’d be surprised at what items you’ve been holding on to for the most random reasons, and how they actually spark the opposite of joy.

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2. Go through all your jewelry items and remove pieces that need repairs–these could be rings with missing stones, jewelry that you’ve always hated but wanted to give a “makeover” to, pieces that rarely get worn, or items that you’ve been meaning to convert into something else. Removing these from your main jewelry box will allow you to focus on what you have that is wearable and you often see things in a different light when there is less.

Once you’ve removed these items, put them in little baggies or envelopes and write on them what needs to be done to each piece so that you are able to love it again and wear it again. Is it a ring sizing? Write down “size ring to 5 to fit my ring finger” and then place it in a pile. If you’re redesigning pieces you own, feel free to draw to the best of your ability your design idea.

Now that you have all your “repair” items, find a reputable jeweler that you know and trust. Hopefully you’ve worked with him or her before so you know what to expect and know their capabilities. Set a goal of dropping off 2-3 items per week until all your repairs are finally finished. You’ll get momentum going once you’ve picked up your first batch of finished items–it’s like getting a new piece of jewelry all over again!

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3. Certain gemstones turn me off and you have to get comfortable with yourself as a collector to realize that. This means buying things at one time that you realize aren’t for you or just simply don’t like anymore. There are a few gemstones and gemstone colors that I’m not a fan of, but I used to be–colors that don’t really go with my skintone or aren’t pleasing to my eye as much as another color family. The point is to recognize this, either sell or repurpose these items to “edit” your collection, and then take the money you’ve made from selling these items to buy jewelry that fits within your new editing parameters.

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4. Trends come and go, but in the world of jewelry–certain trends stay longer than most disposable fashion trends. Also, like many trends, they can resurface several years from now and those items you “wish you had that you sold years ago” could be the next coolest thing. So, if you have a piece of jewelry that may be considered “trendy” but you honestly love it, but wearing it today may not necessarily fit with what you’re wearing now–I would think twice about selling something like this!

A prime example of this for me and my collection was the dainty jewelry trend (which is still actually very strong today). I liked this trend at first and it also fit with my budget a few years ago. I started gravitating toward bigger, bolder pieces and have never been able to look at a dainty ring the same again. I ended up selling most of my dainty rings and found that selling like five dainty rings could get me one bold piece, which was music to my ears. The bigger pieces bring me more joy and hopefully that doesn’t change anytime soon! ūüėČ

Another examples of this is gold chains. Growing up, I received a lot of gold chains from my grandparents as gifts from Italy. I went through a phase in college where I only wore this one chain of my dad’s with a medallion of St. Anthony on it (my dad gave me both), so I sold every other chain I owned because I simply never wore anything else. Today, I would kill to have some of those chains now–there was some really cool pieces which now would be very trendy with the chain layering trend that is happening today.

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5. Knowing when, what and how to sell is a big task that has some complications here and there, but luckily if you purchased your items you want to now sell at the right price back then, it should be able to yield the same price if not more today. Jewelry is great like that because gold and gemstones are almost always valuable (I’m not talking about fashion jewelry or costume pieces).

If you haven’t worn a piece of jewelry for over five years, I think it is safe to say you should sell it–or at least ask yourself, why haven’t you worn it? Once you’ve gathered pieces that you feel ok with selling, now you have to figure out what platform you’d like to sell them.

Sites like eBay, Etsy and Ruby Lane are all great options if you have a large amount of pieces you’d like to sell. If you open a shop on any of these sites and you’re not a formal antique seller, it is important that you state that in your bio/about section. There is a big difference between a dealer and a collector who has lots of items and just wants to sell them. Be open to making mistakes and allowing to accept returns if it is your first time selling.

If you’re a collector on Instagram and a part of the Instagram Antique Jewelry Community (idk why I capitalized that lol) then selling some items on your Instagram page is a fast and easy way to accomplish that. It is also fee-free, whereas with the sites I mentioned above take a fee if you sell through them. But this option is only as good as the size of your audience. Etsy, eBay and Ruby Lane have thousands and thousands of visitors everyday, whereas your Instagram page might be short of that number.

You can also TRADE — I started the hashtag #gemgossipSWAP for those interested in posting items they’re willing to part with and find others’ who want to trade as well. I’ve personally used the hashtag myself and am now the proud owner of a ring I traded with someone.

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? You won’t believe what my jewelry box looked like 7 years ago

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Top Five Reasons Chinchar Maloney Should be a part of Your Engagement Ring Search

Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip

We don’t ever want to pair the words “engagement ring shopping” and “daunting” together. This is a joyous occasion, a very special time in every person’s life and arguably so, some negative words are often used to describe it. Where to start? Who to trust? What are the best options? There are so many questions that often don’t come with straight answers, and that may be a culprit. The best thing I can do is suggest designers and stores that I feel are honest, fair, trustworthy and have amazing designs.

That’s where Chinchar Maloney comes into play. I’ve been recommending their designs to numerous brides-to-be who are looking for a unique and classic ring that they can treasure forever. I own a few pieces from this Oregon-based, family-run business and really love their craftsmanship. A fan of my engagement ring even commissioned Chinchar Maloney to create a ring that looks identical to mine and it turned out so very similar, I had to do a double-take.

Chinchar Maloney most recently debuted a new collection rightfully named the “New Classic.” What’s even more exciting, since I know a lot of my followers are store owners, they are now offering wholesale and opening up a new realm of their business with wholesale accounts. It is a great opportunity to feature a rising artist that has captured the millennial market, a foray which many are still trying to figure out. They’ve not only done just that but have a huge social media following of over a half million and counting. People just love their designs!

I’ve put together a list of the TOP FIVE reasons Chinchar Maloney should be a part of your engagement ring shopping:

Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip

Unique, Alternative Styles

1. Their rings offer a unique and alternative styles than what’s currently on the average market. Many brides are wanting something that is different, that “no one else has,” and their designs clearly fit this description. An important selling factor for Chinchar Maloney is that their designs are different yet thoroughly classic at the same time.

Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip

Rustic Diamonds

2. Chinchar Maloney uses “rustic” diamonds in their designs–a current trend for engagement rings and something that is catching everyone’s attention. Diamonds that are peach, grey, champagne, cognac, “salt and pepper,” and a few other color descriptors used to name these unique diamonds which are not graded on a typical D-Z color scale. To learn more about the diamonds used by Chinchar Maloney, click here.

The use of these diamonds is important to Chinchar Maloney, “All of our diamonds are natural and untreated and have come out of the earth with the wonderful colors and characteristics you see here. All of our diamonds are ethical and conflict free. This is just as important to us as it is to you!”

Family-owned & operated

3. As a family-owned company, you will receive incredible customer service and know that you are contributing to artisans who have a passion for creating. There is something about a family-owned business in the jewelry industry that stands above the rest. I love the above video and how it brings the brand into the spotlight to give you a peek at what they’re all about. Now you can see what truly goes into creating these pieces.

Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip

100% Handcrafted

4. Everything is handcrafted. This is becoming more and more of a rarity, as we see so much that is mass-produced. Looking at a Chinchar Maloney ring and you know that each piece was created in their Portland, Oregon studio, by hand, with each step of the way in a craftsperson’s hands. That is amazingly wonderful to me.

Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip Chinchar Maloney | Gem Gossip

Not Just Rings!

5. You can outfit your entire look using pieces from their “New Classic” collection. Yes, they’ve expanded into bracelets, necklaces and earrings–all with the same raw, unique look that is so Chinchar Maloney. So if you’re putting together your wedding day look and want to match your engagement ring, you’ve got some options. Or if you already own a Chinchar Maloney engagement ring and want something to add to your jewelry box that will go perfectly with it, these gorgeous pieces above would be great.

This sponsored post was brought to you in collaboration with Chinchar Maloney.

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Five Important Things I Learned from Being a Jewelry Appraiser

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Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a profession such as “jewelry appraiser.” It was something that I fell into by chance and I’m grateful/thankful everyday for that–because although I never thought it would be something I would do, there wasn’t a day that went by which I didn’t learn something new during that time. My mind was like a sponge during the first few months of picking up the skills of jewelry appraising–from measuring, to formulating, comparing and researching–everything came almost naturally for me. Market values and research were aspects I really enjoyed about the job. Things like checking out auctions results, following market trends, and so on–these are things I still do to this day although I don’t appraise jewelry on a regular basis anymore. From the moment I picked up the profession and for five years straight, I appraised piles of 10-25 pieces on a weekly basis–that is, fully written up, documented appraisals for insurance purposes. I’ve worked with clients of all walks of life, even traveling to rural Illinois to appraise an entire estate of about 100 items.

Being a jewelry appraiser is a fun job and very rewarding, but also has its downfalls. For me, personally, I worked in an office with no windows. The days were long when you had piles of jewelry to appraise–just you and a microscope. My eyesight has never been the same, but obviously aging will also do that to you. I enjoyed breaking stereotypes of a “typical appraiser.” Young women usually aren’t the ones getting pulled from the back of a jewelry store when someone has a question about their jewelry. I remember a customer telling me, “wait you’re the appraiser? I was expecting an older man!”

I’ve been putting together this list for awhile now and wanted to share my top insights/important things I’ve learned from my five years of being a jewelry appraiser–let’s start from the top:

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1. While most appraisals I’ve done were dealing with happy clients that were getting insurance on their items to hopefully prevent anything bad from happening so they could potentially be covered–I also dealt with the opposite. So many disgruntled clients who were stolen from or lost an item that they deemed “irreplaceable” only to have it vanish. It happens–jewelry gets stolen, jewelry gets lost. I couldn’t recommend getting your jewelry appraised enough! I have never heard so many of the same stories of how things got stolen–the caregiver, the plumber, a son/daughter’s friend that came over, the list goes on. Bottom line, if you frequently have people coming in/out of your house–your jewelry items need to be insured and hidden.

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2. I’ve also appraised lots of items that were randomly found by people–whether it was on the ground, inside an old house that was being renovated, or at garage sales in a junk pile–dreams do come true and treasure is still out there!! My favorite story comes from a lady who was renovating a house that was recently purchased. She was moving an old, tall grandfather clock that was left with the house, when she noticed something behind the pendulum part of the clock. It was a ring box with a solitaire ring inside. She thought for sure it was fake, but sure enough it was an Old European cut diamond that was 1.50 carats and worth $10k!

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3. There are a lot of appraisers out there that aren’t doing it right. They think putting a crazy high value on a retail replacement appraisal will make their customer happy because it is nowhere near what they paid for that same item. So, this in turn makes the customer incredibly satisfied, thinking they got a steal of a deal. It is crazy because I honestly can’t even find comparables or a way to justify valuing some jewelry items so high. In the end, it doesn’t really help anyone because the customer ends up paying higher deductibles on insurance and also when they go to sell their jewelry, they have this clouded value of what they think that item is worth. Find an appraiser that is putting reasonable values on things and not outlandish replacement values.

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4. If there is any type of jewelry that I feel doesn’t hold its value over time, it would have to be watches. I know so many people are going to hate me for saying this, including my husband who invests in Rolexes (not smart lol), but it is true. Resale values on watches are usually less than 1/3 of what you paid for it. That is relatively speaking though. And yes, there are some watches that age like fine wine and hold, if not increase, their value.

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5. You’re only slightly offending your appraiser when you ask to be present while appraising your jewelry. This was my number one request I would get asked when people would make an appraisal appointment. It was hard to make exceptions for people and allow them to come back into normally-closed-quarters for the public. But at the same time, I could relate and understand where they were coming from. I can’t imagine leaving my engagement ring with someone for several days to get appraised. So while it may easily be taken offensively from an appraiser’s point of view, looking at it from a concerned client’s point of view helps. And yes, I would make exceptions–but no, not everyone does!

xoxoGemGossip

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*All above photos are pieces of jewelry I’ve appraised during my five years as a jewelry appraiser. None of them belong to me.

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SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! LXXXVIII

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from top to bottom:

Fox & Bond packs a puch full of gorgeous antique rings from their inventory

Metier SF decorates a handful of favorites from their cases of the jewel box of a store

Estenza Jewelry believes in sweater weather and bundling up with diamond rings

The Eden Collective proves that a one finger stack is sometimes all you need

Stephanie Gottlieb piles on the Walters Faith rings

Under the Crown Jewelry shows off some favorite elongated diamond rings

Alana Jewelry sports some emeralds, green sapphires and tanzanite for a cool combo

three clusters and a snake from Doyle & Doyle — an ideal match

Isadora’s Antique Jewelry wearing some very old mourning pieces, highly collectible

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Gem Gossip Jewel Box Photos

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I became obsessed with pictures of LOTS of rings in ring trays or velvet ring slots sometime last year. Just like my Show Me Your Rings project, I tried finding as many pictures as possible, only to be disappointed by the scarcity of what I found. So, I posted the ones I did find and snapped some of my own! I then asked others to do the same…and that’s how #gemgossipjewelbox was born! The hashtags on Instagram for some reason have not been a very reliable place to keep all of the pictures. I’ve been trying to post and save as many as possible, with this Pinterest board below the main place to house all the pictures.

If you’d like to contribute a picture, be sure to tag me @gemgossip as well as use the hashtag #gemgossipjewelbox and if you’d like to keep up with these, follow on Pinterest!


Source: GossipGem.com

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Top Five Designer Jewelry Brands You NEED In Your Jewel Box

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There are so many pieces of jewelry out there! It is almost mind-boggling thinking about the number of options we have as consumers, along with all the push and pull we get from the media…”buy this,” “save 50% on this,” “check out this season’s must-haves.” And with more and more celebrity endorsements and blogger sponsorships, you might not know who to turn to for advice anymore!

Well, I’ve put together my current list for the Top Five Designer Jewelry Brands which you need in your jewel box–and these are chosen based on my own opinion. This is not a sponsored blog post nor did I receive any compensation to choose any of these five designers! I simply think what they are doing right now is amazing and by adding any or all of these designers to your jewelry box will no doubt be an investment in more ways than one!

1. Buddha Mama Jewelry: I was really impressed after seeing all the new collections at this year’s Couture show and truly floored by the vibrant colors, rich gold and enamel work, with enamel being a huge focus for the girls this year. I loved every bit of it! When buying a piece from Buddha Mama, you can’t really go wrong–they also have big and bold if that is your style, lots of statement pieces, some spiritual pieces and if color is your thing–tons of options!

>> My pick? I would go for either one of their shaker cuffs (of course custom fit, as no cuff ever fits me ) or one of their 20k Marquise pendants outfitted with a color combo that gives you the best zen vibes you can find.

2. Nancy Newberg Jewelry: I love this line of jewelry because it is one that you can put on with anything–jeans and t-shirt, ball gown, pajamas–and just works. The jewelry is sophisticated yet cool, refined yet slightly edgy. The rings you see in the photo above, those can be worn alone, with no other jewelry whatsoever, and you’d still be best dressed in terms of jewelry wherever you are.

>> My choice? Either the ring pictured in yellow gold or one of her newest domed ball rings.

3. Venyx: This stunning line by Eugenie Niarchos totally transports you to another world. The uniqueness of it alone puts it in the top five. If you like colorful, most of her designs will be the perfect addition to your jewelry box; color is a big part of her line. The black-light responsive enamel rings are really cool too. Bottom line, if you want something that will truly get people talking and curious as to the story behind a piece, then Venyx is for you.

>> My pick? Anything with a rainbow of gems will do, but if I had to choose, a Moonshell rainbow ring.

4. NC Rocks: A favorite newcomer of many, NC Rocks truly “rocked” it at Couture. Adding a piece from their collection to your jewelry box would be a smart thing to do, as I only see them growing and continually expanding their collection. Start now and continue collecting! Their enamel pieces are incredible–love the Art Deco inspired designs.

>> My choice? Either the middle ring I’m wearing in the above photo or the Venice ring.

5. Alison Lou Jewelry: Investing in a young and hip jewelry designer like Alison Lou is smart and her jewelry is worth every penny. Every jewelry box needs a piece when you look at it, it makes you smile. That’s exactly what kind of jewelry Alison designs…whether it’s a ring that features your favorite emoji, a pair of earrings delicately enameled in your favorite color, or a necklace that is personalized, her jewels are just as sentimental as they are trendy.

>> My fave? Her Wildflowers by the Yard necklace…or if you’re more of a ring girl, any of her enamel eternity bands are amazing.

xoxoGemGossip

WANT MORE? You may also enjoy reading these Q&A interviews.


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Q & A with A La Vieille Russie in NYC

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It only took one quick glance from my whizzing cab on the busy streets of NYC–I locked onto the gilded windows with my eyes and secretly swooned as I sped by A La Vieille Russie. The antique gallery specializes in rare jewelry, Fabergé, decorative arts and Russian treasures, and stands on the corner of 5th Avenue and E. 59th Street in all its glory. It’s a shop unlike any other and it belongs in no other place than NYC. Unfortunately for me, I don’t get to visit NYC as often as I’d like to, but hopefully soon I will get a chance to visit ALVR rather than drive right by it only wishing I could stop.

The inventory on display at A La Vieille Russie is what most would describe as “exquisite,” or in my own words, “museum-worthy.” If you love Art Deco engagment rings, yes ALVR has them…but how about a rare piece of French Victorian jewelry, perfectly executed and in excellent condition?! Or even better, how about a diamond spray brooch with an origin most likely of the Russian Crown Jewels?! That’s what sets ALVR apart from the rest. The jewelry is magnificent and it speaks for itself.

I had to know more about this gallery that stands out from the crowd…about their jewelry, most importantly, and their views on the antique jewelry industry. With such an extraordinary store and resume, I fielded some questions and enjoyed hearing the intriguing responses. Hope you enjoy too!

q1

We source our jewelry from around the world but the majority of it we find in England and the European continent.

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q2

The short answer is no. For instance, we have a postcard in our archives from an antique jewelry dealer, writing to his son in the 1820s saying “I don’t know how you are going to continue in business, I can’t find any merchandise”. We think dealers have always felt this way and really great antique pieces are becoming harder and harder to find. They are out there but along with being harder to find, the quality we seek has become a lot more expensive. It is easy to spend a million dollars but we would actually find it very difficult given the quality and the rarity of the pieces we are on the hunt for. However, as time goes on, pieces become vintage and eventually antique. Most of our collection comes from the 18th, 19th and early 20th century but we are beginning to collect exceptional jewels from the mid-20th century and we even have some “vintage” jewels from the 1970s and ‘80s.

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q3

We are world renown for our Fabergé and have formed some of the most important Fabergé collections in the world. The Messer Schaffer’s father, Alexander Schaffer, is known for introducing Fabergé to America and Fabergé himself was a client of our firm in 19th century Kiev. We are also known for our Imperial Russian treasures and European Objects of Vertu and snuffboxes. Interestingly, snuffboxes are considered by most to be the top end of jewelry. Primarily snuffboxes were made for men, however, in her lifetime, Catherine the Great had the largest collection and the story is that she supposedly had a snuffbox on every window ledge of the Winter Palace, known today as the main building of the Hermitage Museum. Given the number of windows in the Winter Palace, 1,945 to be exact, this story must be an exaggeration. However, it is possible that she had at least one in each of its 1,057 rooms.

In terms of jewelry, we consider ourselves to be “where the unusual is usual.” We look for the highest level of craftsmanship, the finest materials as well as unusual and innovative designs. We get most excited about delightfully unusual jewels and over the years, some of our favorite pieces have included materials such as wood, leather, gunmetal, human hair, copper, brass, celluloid etc. Of course, rings do very well for us as they are easily worn with today’s fashions. We try to carry a range of momento mori rings, hardstone cameo rings, Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco and cocktail rings. Rare, high quality rings always sell and oddly enough, at the moment we are also all out of tiaras.

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q4

Art Deco is eternally popular. Lately, we have also seen a returned interest in mid-nineteenth century jewelry (1830-1870) in the Georgian, Victorian and Revival styles. Art Nouveau ebbs and flows in popularity but we love it always. Artist jewelry such as pieces by Salvador Dalí or jewels by Hollywood celebrity jeweler Paul Flato also always has an audience. There is definitely an increase in the salability and desirability of antique jewels and we think it is due to two main factors: 1) People are looking for individuality and do not want to be a part of the herd. So much of today’s jewelry is ubiquitous or a continuation of branding and people are favoring unique antique pieces more and more. 2) Some of our jewelry we consider “subway jewelry”, as in you can wear it anytime, anywhere, depending on the audience. Some of our best pieces do not appear as obvious bling and are quite understated. You could wear these pieces on the subway without anyone realizing what you had on and then once you got to the opening night of the Opera, everyone would know what you’re wearing.

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q5

Any? We have several! One of our favorites is from a few years back. A friend and client came into our gallery one day saying that her sister had passed away and was wondering if we would be interested in looking at her massive collection of jewelry in Jersey. Of course, we said yes and when the subject was broached with one of our firm’s principals, he immediately said “get in a car and drive out there”. To which the response was “No can do, it is the Isle of Jersey… off of the coast of France!” We ended up with over three hundred and fifty pieces of fabulous jewelry.

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This post was brought to you in collaboration with A La Vieille Russie.

ALVR

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