Ten Facts You Didn’t Know About Gem Gossip

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Above features every “logo” aka Banner I’ve had over the past nine years, from first inception until now. The evolution shows the progression and most recently we dropped our tagline which we’ve had since day one.

With each passing July, I sit and ponder the beginnings of my blog Gem Gossip–all that it has done and accomplished, and all the potential that lies ahead. It was nine years ago that I first started this website with the sole purpose of connecting with others that love jewelry as much as I do. I never imagined that I would be doing this full-time nine years later and creating my own path. And I have YOU to thank for all this–those who read my blog daily, follow my social media accounts, “like” my photos and send encouraging emails. Thank you. You truly don’t know what it means to me and I’m forever grateful.

To celebrate this year, I’m reminiscing like crazy and sharing with you some facts you might not have known about Gem Gossip! I thought this would be a fun and personal blog post, and I’d love to hear some interesting tidbits regarding YOU and Gem Gossip. Does a blog post stick out in your memory? How did you find or stumble upon my blog? Did I help you out in a way that I don’t know about? I’d love to know! You can email me, write it in the comments below, or share on Instagram–I’ll be posting this on there as well.

PS: There will also be a giveaway coming up, but I have to hit 160k followers on Instagram first, so stay tuned!

The Facts:

1. I started my blog as a result of moving to Tennessee–after uprooting from the only house I had ever lived in my whole life in Upstate NY to TN, I had a lot of time on my hands. I had no job, no car (I sold my car because I didn’t want to drive it 11 hours by myself lol), and knew no one in my new town. I finally decided to invest my time and energy into learning about my biggest passion I had been carrying around with me my whole life–JEWELRY!

2. I was in a long distance relationship at the time I started Gem Gossip. It was because of my ex-boyfriend who suggested I should start a blog about jewelry after I had constantly filled his inbox daily with long hyperlinks of jewelry that I thought was “really cool.” He told me he didn’t care about the jewelry and that I needed an outlet to share my passion with others who felt the same way!

3. The name “Gem Gossip” was conceived after a brainstorm session with my sisters on what to name my future jewelry blog. I knew I couldn’t have my URL be daniellemiele.com because NO ONE knows how to pronounce my last name. It had to be catchy, simple, relate to jewelry and easy to say. I was looking at my sister’s fashion magazines and saw one of the actresses from Gossip Girl on the front cover (that show was the most popular around that time). I whispered aloud, “Gossip Gem” … and then “Gem Gossip” and it all clicked!

4. One of my first emails I’ve ever received from a jewelry designer was from Carolyn Tyler, after I had featured some of her work on my brand new blog. Her email was so encouraging and the excitement that I felt from receiving positive feedback was worth more than gold to me in that moment. I will never forget that kind exchange.

5. On the flipside of that, I’ve received several negative emails over the past nine years. One that called me Southern white trash (I’m from NY, so nice try) and a few that poked fun of my features that included photos of me modeling jewelry. This is both alarming on many levels but also quite comical, in my opinion.

6. The first seven years of writing Gem Gossip were all done part-time on weekends or after work. I was a nanny for the very first year and a half when I moved to Tennessee, and then eventually worked full-time at an antique jewelry store for five years. I would sit behind a microscope Tuesday through Saturday, with a pile of jewelry in a room without windows and crank out appraisals…and then come home bursting with creative energy, not wanting to do anything else except work on my blog.

7. One of my first big writing gigs was for LoveGold–I had no idea at the time how much I would learn in such a positive way from the 2 1/2 years of working with them. I produced exactly 100 pieces of exclusive content for LoveGold and traveled thousands of miles. And I still can’t get enough of yellow gold.

8. I once had a meeting with a very prestigious celebrity stylist. After learning I lived in Nashville she asked me about my love of country music. I told her I hated country music and she kept saying, “So you don’t like Taylor Swift? Not even Taylor Swift??” and I was adamant about not liking Taylor Swift. It was then and there that I realized I could have easily changed my answer to better fit our conversation; for her to “like” me. But I didn’t. I am who I am and I’m not changing for anyone. It is a memory that still sticks with me to this day…and it was with me a few weeks ago when I had some big meetings in NYC.

9. My #JewelryRoadTrip project involves a lot of travel, appointment making and on-the-spot creativity when visiting stores and designers’ work spaces. My husband Matt usually is the photographer behind all my #JewelryRoadTrip features but there was one big trip he couldn’t make–all my Pennsylvania coverage. My mom ended up coming along with me and taking all the photos. She was SO nervous and wanted to do a good job. I think she did great and it is still such a memorable trip for both of us. It was one of the first literal road trips where we drove my Prius up from Nashville and across the entire state of Pennsylvania over the course of four days. My car surpassed the 100k mileage mark on that trip and we celebrated by eating Arby’s (my favorite road trip fast food place…wait, maybe I am white trash?? See #5).

10. One of my most proud moments was being a co-curator at the Doyle & Doyle Vault series, where the NYC-based antique jewelry store put on their version of a month-long museum exhibition. I chose the topic of Sentimental Rings and several of my personal pieces, including my grandparents’ wedding bands and my grandma’s engagement ring were a part of the exhibit. In order for her ring to get to me, my grandma had to mail me her beloved ring. We both were so nervous for this feat–I had been tracking the package every step of the way. On the day of delivery, it was pouring rain. My alerts told me it had been delivered at my doorstep, but it was nowhere to be found. I was having a full-on panic attack over this. I ran outside in the rain in search of the package. To my surprise, it was sitting on the stoop of my neighbor a few doors down from me. It wasn’t just any neighbor…it was our neighbor that we were in a fully committed “poop war” with. What could I possibly mean by this? Well his dog would go to the bathroom in our yard almost daily…so my husband would take the dog poop and put it on their porch. Dumbest thing ever, but we were totally into it at the time lol. I grabbed the package off their porch and ran back home. That day ended the “poop war” and they moved shortly afterward, so all crisis averted. (By the way, my grandma’s Italian handwriting is the reason for the incorrect delivery–insert Italian hand gesture meaning WTF).

xoxoGemGossip

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How Designers Work with Gold: Six Unique Stories

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

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

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

Anthony Lent Jewelry Anthony Lent Jewelry

Anthony Lent Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Anthony Lent here.

Jessie V E Jessie V E

Jessie V E Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Jessie V E here.

Metalicious Jewelry Metalicious Jewelry

Metalicious Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Metalicious Jewelry here.

Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos Johnny Ninos

Johnny Ninos Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

>> Learn more about Johnny Ninos here.

Grace Lee Designs Grace Lee Designs

Grace Lee Designs

How is gold important in your work?

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

Why do you like working with gold?

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

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

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

>> Learn more about Grace Lee here.

SophieHughes SophieHughes SophieHughes

Sophie Hughes Jewelry

How is gold important in your work?

Why do you like working with gold?

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

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

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

>> Learn more about Sophie Hughes here.

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

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Top Ten Rings from STORE 5a in Columbus, OH

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I learned of STORE 5a when on my #JewelryRoadTrip last month in the Ohio area. The shop caught my attention because they are all about selling pre-owned items–things like designer handbags, watches, and of course fine jewelry. It is stores like STORE 5a where you can find hidden gems and that one piece you’ve been missing from your collection, easily. Luckily they have two locations, both in Columbus, Ohio–one being in the Easton Market and the other in Short North. Taking the word pre-owned and putting their own spin on it, STORE 5a shows how you can save money, be socially responsible and own a piece of fashion history, all while shopping at their store.

I hope to someday get to visit one of their stores, but in the meantime, their jewels came to me! Here are my TOP TEN favorite rings from their current inventory:

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1. 14k yellow gold solitaire rutilated Kunzite ring, Price: $2,750

I don’t know but for some reason I went from not liking pink to being ALL ABOUT pink! This kunzite ring is vibrant, glowing and pouring out color in every direction. What is neat about it this particular piece is that it features some rutile inclusions that have become a part of the unique look of the stone. Rutile thin fibers of another mineral that often get in the cross path of another mineral when forming underground. The result is often really cool, like in this ring!

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2. Platinum and 18k yellow gold tourmaline and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

The center gemstone in this ring immediately caught my attention and you wouldn’t realize how different the setting is until you saw the side profile view, above! The flattened shank is actually really comfortable–now I know why so many men have a square wedding band. The tourmaline is such a pretty blue-green color, accented perfectly with a rubellite (just another word for red/pink tourmaline).

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3. 14k white gold diamond and sapphire bubble ring, Price: $3,950

A cluster of geometric goodness consisting of diamonds and sapphires, this ring is bold and beautiful! There’s quite a lot of diamond weight here–nearly three carats! It sparkles like crazy and the way the ring is designed, it has a comfort fit where the shank meets the front. I love how elongated it is and takes up quite a lot of space on the finger! A must in my book.

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4. 14k yellow gold diamond and sapphire owl ring, Price: $1,960

Something about owls that people just love–my gram collected owls for years…had them all over her house! I would have preferred this owl ring over a house full of owls any day! The eyes are two glowing sapphires and there are also diamonds which form its classic scowl. I love the detail of the texture of the gold–makeshift feathers right there! Such a cool piece.

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5. 18k yellow gold and platinum emerald and diamond ring, Price: $2,999

This ring is all about the details! From the gilded, scrolling shank, to the contrasting metals, and even the details of the “petals,” it checks every box. It also doesn’t hurt that it is very photogenic! It is bold and earthy, with lots of vintage vibes going on. Maybe you’re a May baby and need a birthstone ring that you’ve been hunting for?! This may be it!

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6. 18k yellow gold old mine cut diamond and sapphire flower ring, Price: $1,450

Perfect for spring, or really, any time of year for that matter–this flower ring is the cutest! It is set with one center old mine cut diamond that is approx. 0.40 carats, surrounded by gold petals with sapphire accents. I’ve always loved the combination of yellow gold, blue sapphire and diamonds. This little vintage beauty is a definite favorite!

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7. 18k white gold filigree synthetic sapphire and diamond ring, Price: $998

Ah, the classic three-stone filigree ring–a staple in every antique jewelry collector’s jewel box. I remember purchasing mine when I first started collecting–since then I upgraded by removing the center stone and replacing it with a diamond. This could easily be done with this one too, but I do love the contrast of the blue and the white gold/white diamonds. Such a precious piece with a great price!

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8. Platinum irraditated yellow pear-cut diamond set with accent diamonds, Price: $7,150

If anything is becoming as of late, it is these incredible pear-cuts that are thankfully trending. I love a good pear cut and this particular diamond has some intense yellow color to it, enhanced through a process called irradiation. I love its design and silhouette–it looks as though it is two rings, but it is all one seamless ring. And it sparkles like crazy!

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9. 14k yellow gold amethyst and pink tourmaline ring, Price: $1,662

I love a juicy color combo and this is amethyst/pink tourmaline duo is pretty incredible! Besides the fact that the design is really stunning in its own right, I simply can’t get enough of this ring. I can picture it being paired with a very casual t-shirt and jeans look, and make a big impact. Make this your statement ring that people recognize you by!

store5a | Gem Gossip store5a | Gem Gossip

10. 14k white gold diamond snowflake ring, Price: $1,225

This ring most resembles a snowflake to me, but could be open for interpretation. It features both princess cut and round brilliant cut diamonds to create the design, every stone being bezel set. This would be an ideal ring for every day wear. The diamonds total approx. 1.21 carats and whether you love the winter or love the concept of snowflakes each being totally unique, this ring is for you!

This sponsored blog post was brought to you in collaboration with STORE 5a.

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One to Follow: @MelanieCaseyJewelry

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Melanie Casey Fine Jewelry has been lighting up Instagram since posting their gorgeous, eco-friendly pieces of jewelry. With stacks and stacks of delicate bands and gemstone rings, each photo immediately went “viral” earning thousands of likes. I was thankful to collaborate with Melanie Casey and helping her promote her brand.

This year is special for Melanie Casey Fine Jewelry because in 2017 they are opening their doors of their North Boston showroom for appointments. If you’re looking for an heirloom quality piece of jewelry that will make your heart flutter for years and years, stop by the Melanie Casey showroom–just a 30 minute drive outside of Boston–and pick your jewels in person. I recommend this way of shopping because you will be able to try-on everything and create your own stacking story. The collection complements and builds upon itself, so the more the merrier.

Jewelry started out as a side hobby for Melanie Casey–an activity where she could use her hands and be creative, with her background in a not-so-creative field of Finance. We are all grateful she made the leap to full-time jewelry designer, boasting a growing team of creatives with everything done in-house. I hope to visit sometime this year and bring my lovely readers an inside look! Stay tuned!

Click here to follow Melanie Casey on Instagram.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Amanda of Maejean Vintage

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I’m so excited to share this month’s Jewelry Collection Story with you all because I know how much we collectively love the Maejean Vintage sisters! You probably own at least one piece from their Etsy shop, with over 12,000 sales made to date, I’m more apt to say you probably own several pieces! I know I do! It is fascinating to think over 12,000+ items have passed through these sisters’ hands–it leads one to be curious as to what is in their personal collections?! What pieces have they come across over the years that they just couldn’t bear to sell?! What jewels struck a chord with Laura and Amanda?

We are so lucky both were eager to share and put together these photos and stories of their collections. We decided to do a two-day, back-to-back event featuring the collections of both sisters–first up is Amanda’s collection, the younger of the two sisters!

Amanda’s Collection:

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

These are some of the necklaces in my collection. The most special one is the dog tag that belonged to my Pop-Pop when he was in the USMC. I feel honored to have inherited it. The garnet cluster pendant was a Valentine’s Day present from my honey. I adore it! Sometimes I wear it on a long gold chain and other times I wear it as a choker.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My most recent acquisition: an antique pale amethyst with a seed pearl halo which I wear in memory of my Aunt Cindy.

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

My favorite bracelets are the gold filled bangles that I love to stack, and the two silver bracelets I inherited from my mother (the charm and the cuff), which she use to wear when she was in her twenties. The platinum and diamond pin is a family heirloom that I occasionally wear on a chain or a dress for special occasions!

Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection Amanda | Maejean Vintage Collection

Left: I don’t wear earrings often, but when I do I keep it simple with the Victorian paste stones, or dress it up with my garnet dangles. Right: Vintage and antique rings in my jewelry collection. I am always on the look out for rings that feature sparkly old cut diamonds, endearing terms (my PET ring is one of my favorites!), or unique shapes!

My vintage jewelry collection really started around the time my sister and I opened our online vintage jewelry store, Maejean Vintage, in 2010. My collection is definitely smaller than I would ideally like, because I have such a hard time keeping pieces for myself! I know a lot of other sellers have that same guilty feeling when keeping a piece instead of selling it! Because of this, I only keep a piece in my collection if I absolutely ADORE it and it speaks to me on a personal level.

When I first started collecting, I was drawn to dainty and intricate pieces, mostly from the Art Deco Era. As my knowledge of different eras developed, so did my collection! My jewelry consists of pieces from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, Mid Century, and Modern eras. I am finding myself more drawn to bigger and bolder pieces as time goes on. I especially have a soft spot for rings!

Being a student at GIA has introduced me to the wonderful world of gemstones, so I am definitely drawn to gemstone jewelry — especially diamonds, garnets, emeralds and sapphires!

I have had the best luck finding jewelry for my personal collection at antique flea markets – especially the large flea market that happens three times a year in Brimfield, MA! I love flea markets because it really is like a big treasure hunt and I also enjoy the ability to haggle ;). eBay and Etsy have also been great marketplaces for finding unique pieces from all over the globe!

A lot of my pieces have strong sentimental value to me and represent people, places, or different times in my life. I recently acquired this amethyst and seed pearl ring which I wear in memory of my aunt, who adored the color purple. Seed pearls can represent tears, which is also very fitting.

Antique jewelry is my biggest passion – I love imagining where the pieces have been, and who cherished them before they came to me. I feel so lucky to have a career in connecting other people with sparkly old gems! <3

xoxoGemGossip

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You can follow Maejean Vintage –> @MaejeanVintage

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Original Miami Antique Show 2017

The biggest change this year: the new location–the Miami-Dade County Expo Center where the fair happens every year

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: I always flock to Lucy Verity for her jewel box of treasures–both her original antique displays and wealth of knowledge, paired with her hilarious demeanor always gives me good energy. Right: The back of a pocket watch that I wish I would’ve bought!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: Spiders creep me out, but this necklace is on a different level! I LOVE it! Right: A box of chocolates has nothing on this box of Jogani jewels!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Stopped by DK Bressler to “oooh & awe” and this made my heart beat faster! A very early piece with original fitted box.

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These case photos give me life and make me excited for next year!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: We felt amethyst was a huge sensation at the antique show–this relatively inexpensive stone will be trending for sure. Right: Rows of mourning rings from Spare Room Antiques are always so interesting and never macabre.

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: I couldn’t tell you how many amazing pieces Mary Anntiques had, so if I had to narrow it down to only two, it would be this carved emerald cameo and lapis ring. Right: I zoomed in on a ring I had been trying to track down for forever–but the booth was busy and I was leaving!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Insane diamonds found at Dover Jewelry–the one on my pointer is nearly 20 carats! This will probably be on a celebrity’s finger in the future…just wonder which one?!

Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip Miami Antique Show | Gem Gossip

Left: Died for opals at the show–especially this brooch from Gold Hatpin. Right: Ah, this ring. Fit like a glove and is probably the best thing I’ve ever seen. From Select Antique Jewelry.

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Jewelry Collection Stories: Heather of @SpeakeasyJewels

Speakeasy Jewels Collection Speakeasy Jewels Collection Speakeasy Jewels Collection Speakeasy Jewels Collection

I was lucky enough to meet Heather before our Instagram community of collectors came into formation. It was during a time when she was in search of the perfect antique engagement ring and I was working full time at a local antique jewelry store in Nashville. We had been emailing back and forth and had a few contenders. What better way to seal the deal than a 12-hour road trip to Nashville?! I got to meet Heather and her future husband, help her try on some gorgeous jewels and it was a great day! Four years later she is sharing her jewelry collection here with us! Take it away Heather:

When and why did I start collecting jewelry? For weeks I couldn’t get my jewel story rolling because the answers were evading me. I cannot recall a time when I didn’t love jewelry and have memories as little girl sifting through any jewelry box or drawer I encountered, much to the chagrin of the women around me. I swear I’ve recovered from this behavior or at least ask permission before rifling. I thought it was my paternal grandma who sparked the collector in me since she was an avid one herself, but I was missing something or rather someone.

It should have been obvious since I worked for him for almost a decade – my Dad is the reason I am a collector. Classic cars, particularly Cadillacs of the 1950s and ‘60s, are his passion. He instilled in me an appreciation for the past and a desire to preserve relics of history. I often find there is an unspoken bond between those of us who collect vintage and antique no matter the category. The way he reflects on the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program through which many classic cars were destroyed echoes the horror we jewelry collectors feel when thinking about scrapping and melting. He understands why I collect antique and vintage jewelry and for Christmas a few years ago gifted me my first loupe with my initials engraved on the side – it is something I cherish. I hope one day I can pass along to my children the same tinkerer and antiquarian heart he has given me.

Speakeasy Jewels Collection Speakeasy Jewels Collection

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Jewels at my Doorstep: FREYWILLE Jewelry

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FREYWILLE is a name synonymous with quality and fine craftsmanship. When the Austrian-based company reached out to me to feature their jewelry, I knew exactly how to make it come alive. After all, jewelry is just metal, gems and in FREYWILLE’s case, fine enamel–the moment you wear that jewelry it fulfills its destiny of what the designer intended his or her creation to become. Frey Wille’s new Ultimate Kiss Collection is the latest launch of jewels to be released. The collection is inspired by Gustav Klimt’s world famous masterpiece “The Kiss” and each piece, like all their jewelry, is handmade in their Vienna headquarters where it all started in 1951.

You may have noticed that FREYWILLE often uses famous paintings as inspiration for their fire enameled jewelry and you’re absolutely right! They’ve depicted several artists’ work, many of them being Austrian-born painters. Their first approach at using artwork as inspiration came in the 90s when the Claude Monet Foundation had FREYWILLE create a collection based off the artist. Since then, it has become their signature and their collectors eagerly await to see what the next beautiful scene will be depicted in the designs. As stated, the Ultimate Kiss Collection features Gustav Klimt’s work; the same artist has been featured in previous collections and it has a whimsical, colorful feel–perfect for an 18k yellow gold backdrop.

I love the jewels that were sent to me for this feature. I’ve been a fan of FREYWILLE for awhile now and particularly love their round ring design, which I made sure to be a part of the shoot. Something about the well-made disc, with a dome of enamel and a central diamond just gets me! FREYWILLE has boutiques worldwide–in fact they have over 100 in several different countries, spanning four continents! For my US fans, there are two locations stateside: one in NYC and one in Beverly Hills. For me, this was my first time ever holding a piece of FREYWILLE, as I’ve only seen their jewelry behind glass. And wow, what an experience! To touch the beauty and feel the hard work that has gone into each piece is fulfilling.

The ever-changing, bustling downtown streets of Nashville provided the perfect cool and modern backdrop for this shoot. Each piece popped against the bright orange crushed velvet and proved to be wearable in every sense of the word. Whether your style is sophisticated chic or laidback cool, these jewels from FREYWILLE will pair great with either look. I can’t wait to learn more about this creative company and see what new collections and artwork they will incorporate into their fine line. Happy 65 years FREYWILLE!

Jewels I wore in this feature; all can be found and purchased at shop.freywille.com:

18k Donna Bangle from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Nautilus Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k Tango Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Ring from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Pendant with Angel Hair chain from the Ultimate Kiss Collection ​

18k and Diamond Luna Piccolissima Earrings from the Ultimate Kiss Collection

All photography shot by Lauren Newman for GemGossip.com

This post was brought to you in collaboration with FREYWILLE.


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Yellow and White Haldi Flower Jewelry

Here is a flower jewelry set that I made after a long time. Its quite a departure from my usual sets as its soft, sweet and elegant with pastel yellows and offwhite.In a culturally vibrant and diverse country as India, color and its multitude of expressions is what holds together the contrasting outlooks, lifestyles, and traditions.

Here is a flower jewelry set that I made after a long time. Its quite a departure from my usual sets as its soft, sweet and elegant with pastel yellows and offwhite.
In a culturally vibrant and diverse country as India, color and its multitude of expressions is what holds together the contrasting outlooks, lifestyles, and traditions. Color and its symbolism stands out and controls every aspect of life in India, be it religion (Saffron, white, green), politics (red, black, saffron), or festivals (multi colors). Color is entwined with Culture here and is an integral part of the rituals and traditions.
Colors like red, maroon, bright or golden yellow and green are used the most during celebrations – festivals and weddings alike. Bright, deep or dark colors are usually preferred and the only exception to that is the use of light yellow. Bright yellow is related to the intellect and is supposed to help keep you calm and cool during stressful yet auspicious occasions like weddings. It is also denotes purity, fertility and prosperity.

haldi yellow flower jewelry


Light or pale yellow considered pale or sickly by western standards is considered to be the color of sanctity, optimism and cheer here. As white is considered inauspicious, during weddings white fabrics and clothes are dipped in turmeric water which results in them becoming a light yellow color and in a lot of communities (esp in south India) these dip-dyed clothes are worn as the bridal attire during weddings. As turmeric is a known antiseptic, a fabric dipped in turmeric is considered to be a symbol of a protection barrier or threshold that keeps out evil eyes and negative vibrations.

haldi yellow flower haath phool

This is very interesting because apart from the yellowed white fabrics (dyed as described above) washed clothes or fabrics are considered impure and are hence not worn by the bride or groom during the wedding. Strangely, silk is the only fabric that is considered to be pure even when its not washed. Talking about wedding traditions I wrote about the Haldi or Pithi ceremony in one of my old flower jewelry posts. In the south Turmeric paste is applied to strings tied on the hand and the Thirumangalyam to emphasise not just the moralities of chastity and purity but also celebrate the fertility of a woman

haldi yellow flower jewellery

This set in yellow and offwhite contains a simple choker, a long raanihaar, a tikka, earrings and haath phool. It would be interesting to see how this bride styles her look with my jewelry.
I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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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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