Read This Before Buying Antique Jewelry Online or Through Instagram!

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Both Lauren and I have noticed a slightly frightening upsurge in the amount of overnight “antique jewelry dealers” these past few months. I’ve nominated Lauren to give her insight and take on this, along with some important tips we should all be aware of before buying any antique piece online or via Instagram. I’ll let Lauren take it away:

Selling fine second-hand jewelry is no simple task that just anyone can pick up by attending a few estate sales. Dealers must continually strive to expand their education and invest in their business so they can offer the best and most honest experience to their customers.

For me, selling antique jewelry was something I fell into by chance in late 2005. I learned my most basic knowledge by apprenticing under a few dealers that had been in the business for decades. This oral history only took me so far. I then conquered many books, took classes, and met with as many other dealers and jewelers as I could.

This happenstance quickly turned into a full on passion; perhaps it’s even my calling if there is such a thing. Over the next nine years, I evolved my business, Ageless Heirlooms until it took form as a brick and mortar shop on the busiest street in town. The lessons are countless and the experience over these years was immeasurably valuable.

Sometimes life takes you unexpected places, and the moment that I could no longer devote 100% of my time to selling antique jewelry was when I decided to take a huge step backward and regroup in late 2014. I closed my brick and mortar shop and continued writing about jewelry, in the hopes that one day I would get back into retail and help reconnect heirlooms with their next generation keepers.

During my almost three year departure from retail, the antique jewelry business changed a lot. The antique jewelry market, like most any business, has always been prone to scammers and dishonesty. But as this niche market keeps expanding, I’ve noticed that more and more dealers pop in and out of the scene — some legitimate and others that are trying to take advantage of the trend. It saddens me to think that there are dealers out there that are either intentionally or unknowingly misguiding their consumers. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth and perpetuates the idea that buying fine second-hand jewelry is a shady practice. I assure you, it’s not.

Shopping for estate jewelry takes a certain degree of trust in the people you’re buying from, especially if you’re just learning all the ins and outs. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you’re buying from someone who is worth supporting.

1. Are they GIA certified or have any other accreditations?

To have your GIA certification is arguably the most important feat in the fine jewelry world. This certification shows that the dealer has put a tremendous investment in their education and are much more competent at grading gemstones than someone that doesn’t have it. If you’re buying very high-end antique jewelry, this question should be high on your priority list. What schooling has this person gone through? If they haven’t, have they had someone else that is GIA certified look over the item in question?

2. How many years have they been in business?

Ask me in my first few years of selling antique jewelry if this question was important, and I would still agree that yes, it is. I was so fortunate that so many customers took a chance on me in my early years, but I had a full backing from other partners that had many years experience under their belts. It wasn’t until I had over five years experience that I considered going out on my own. Sometimes it’s worth it to take a chance on someone, but make sure you get to know them a little bit first.

3. Are their prices consistent with other dealers?

Antique jewelry isn’t always an apples to apples comparison. But, in the broad scope, prices for similar pieces should fall within a similar range. Anything that is way off the mark, whether priced too high or too low is a red flag for me.

However, sometimes antique jewelry businesses with lots of employees will have higher prices — they need this markup to survive. This higher price is worth it at times because many of these businesses have access to rare antique jewelry that smaller dealers don’t. Pay a higher price only if that item is rare and other reputable dealers don’t have anything similar for less.

Too cheap a price could indicate that the item is a reproduction, is in poor shape, the dealer is a fly by night, or maybe you just found a bargain. Either way, it’s worth looking into more thoroughly.

4. Do they have a brick & mortar shop or a website?

Any signs that this person has invested time, money and energy into their business is a good thing. Do they have a website, an Etsy shop or a brick and mortar that they keep updated? Are they active on social media? That is a good indicator that this business is their primary source of income, and they take pride in it. People who take pride in their online businesses are less likely to jeopardize it by acting shady.

5. How is their feedback/online reviews?

If the person is selling on Etsy or eBay, it is an absolute no brainer to read as much of their feedback as possible before you purchase. This won’t necessarily be a foolproof method, but it certainly helps when you’re buying on the internet.

6. Do you see any reproductions being passed off as old?

It might be hard to know what reproductions look like from a picture, but they are out there in full force! If you have browsed some sites that openly sell reproduction jewelry like Jan’s Jewells, you’ll have some idea which items are being remade. If you catch a reproduction being passed off as old, or the description is vague using terms like “antique-style Art Deco ring”, this is a red flag. Let me know if you’re interested in more ways you can spot reproductions online because there’s a lot that can be said here!

7. Do you notice that some items aren’t dated?

I’ve seen it where some antique jewelry dealers want to sell reproductions (they are easier to find and are cheaper), but they don’t want to be upfront about it for whatever reason. If you spot jewelry on a dealer’s site that has no mention of the item’s age at all, this is a red flag. Ask them openly if the item is new or old, and hopefully, if they passed a lot of these other questions, they’ll be honest and tell you.

Do you have any other ways you vet out antique jewelry sellers? Let me know in the comments and as always, happy hunting!


This post was contributed by:

Ageless Heirlooms Lauren Thomann | I: @agelessheirlooms | W: www.agelessheirlooms.com

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SHOW ME YOUR RINGS! XCII

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from top to bottom:

Colette Jewelry stacks up some new pieces that are dark yet colorful!

The Gem Hunter showing off some rings of the day, including some that are for sale

The Eden Collective creates a moody feminine vibe with cameos and black hearts

a fist full of Jacquie Aiche jewels some of my favorites in her collections

Roseark wearing Gienia Design + Barry Brinker Fine Jewelry, a winning combination

Doves Jewelry proves that all one color can have a major impact, love it

Logan Hollowell Jewelry creates stacks that are elegant, trendy and downright beautiful

Broken English Jewelry plays with Andrea Fohrman’s celestial rings

stacks and stacks of Sirciam Jewelry on the fingers and on jewelry cases

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Alex Cooper Has An Upcoming Auction You Won’t Want to Miss!

Alex Cooper Auction sapphire-wings-ring pendant-earrings Lot 30 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 43 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 43 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 46 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 47 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 47 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 60 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 78 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 86 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 93 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 114 Alex Cooper Auction Lot 119 Alex Cooper Auction

Alex Cooper is one of my favorite auction houses to keep up with, as I’m constantly checking their auction calendar in hopes of their catalog going live. Good news–I’m here to alert you to an upcoming auction and my favorite picks so you don’t have to be clueless! Alex Cooper has their spring Gallery Sale set for April 6th & 8th, 2017 with nearly 200 lots of fine jewelry, spanning all eras and styles. All jewelry lots are scheduled for an April 6th sale date and I’ve got the lowdown on all my top picks, featured above.

I hope you make certain to register to bid–you can bid online via Alex Cooper or on LiveAuctioneers.com

Lot 30: I’ve been seeing a lot of these dress clips that are truly gorgeous and over-the-top resurfacing. I feel like they are having their second wind, as I’ve seen them reimagined, styled in different ways never before seen. This one is an example of one of the prettiest I’ve seen–done in platinum, diamonds and sapphires. If you look closely, there are bullet-shaped and half-moon diamonds, making it truly special. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 43: A ring so enchanting it needs both views shown! I love this enamel dream–set with old European cut diamonds and bright blue enamel–it carries itself with its bold look. It is done in 14k yellow gold and currently a size 7 1/4. I can picture this styled with so many different looks; a fashionista’s fantasy. Estimate: $700-900

Lot 46: This brooch caught my eye because of the calibre cut aquamarine that is set in it, along with the diamonds. This piece is really unique and I love a few things about it–one being the size of it (2.5 inches in length, not too big or too small), two being the color combo (light blue of the aquamarine and the white of the diamonds), and three being that it is a brooch (can be incorporated into your wardrobe in so many ways). Just pin and go! Estimate: $700-900

Lot 47: I said “omg” upon seeing this circular medallion pendant! Not only do I love a good medallion, but the subject being an Egyptian pharaoh has won me over. On top of all that, the details are all colorfully enameled with white, blue, red and green. And I felt it was totally necessary to show off the back with the extra photo because it is THAT good. Look at that winged goddess on the back, such a cool design. Estimate: $1,000-1,500

Lot 60: One of my most favorite purchases last year was a solid gold wire choker. It was something that gets A LOT of wear, almost daily. I love it because it is so versatile (I can wear it alone, layered, add a pendant to it…) and totally on trend. These two gold wire necklaces up for auction are both 14k gold and I love the groove in the center, ready for pendants or enhancers to be added. Estimate: $500-700

Lot 78: I picked these 14k white gold diamond snowflake dangle earrings because I have a very similar pair of stud earrings which I love. These immediately transport me to a pretty wintertime setting, with snowflakes falling and holiday happiness. These earrings feature two carats total of diamonds. Estimate: $300-500

Lot 86: As many of you know, I have a special place in my heart for bypass rings. This one is pretty unique–with the crossover design and including a swirl of diamonds intertwined. The two main diamonds weigh approximately 0.78 carats and 0.82 carats. Estimate: $3,000-3,500

Lot 93: With the rarity of these pairs of wedding bracelets getting tougher and tougher to find, this makes lot 93 that much better. You’ve got an immaculate pair of wedding bracelets and both are present. I love the buckle motif of these gold plated bracelets and the best part is the black enamel details! Estimate: $200-400

Lot 114: I love lots like these where you get a few rings, not just one! They often complement each other so whomever wins the lot already has a ring stack ready to be worn! This particular lot features a tiger’s eye ring, a Victorian pearl ring and a lemon quartz ring. What a great grouping! Estimate: $80-200

Lot 119: Lastly, this cameo and intaglio pair stood out to me–a Grecian beauty and fair maiden! Just as a cameo is the opposite of an intaglio, these two couldn’t be anymore different. I love the juxtaposition between them. The black onyx intaglio is done in 9k gold and the cameo is 14k gold. Estimate: $100-300

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Alex Cooper Auctions.

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Want more? Learn how to bid online at auction by reading my top five tips!

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Book Review: Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed

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Have you ever dreamed of going into the vaults and archives of the infamous, world-renowned auction house Christie’s?! I feel like I dream about that on a daily basis and although I’ve never gotten my chance, author Vincent Meylan may hold the key to unlocking that door with his latest book called Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed. In it, he chronicles some of the most headlining jewelry auctions–from British Royalty jewels, to Elizabeth Taylor’s collection, and everything in between. Mr. Meylan had insider’s access to the Christie’s archives to research for this book, where he brings hundreds of color illustrations, including more than 100 original documents reproduced just for the pages of this tome.

The history behind Christie’s is even more extensive than what I thought–with their first sale being on December 5, 1766! It is interesting to read that during this revolutionary time, the events that took place may have actually benefited Christie’s because so many people of royalty were being sent to the guillotine. Chapter two has quite the attention-grabbing title of “Murdered Queens.” The extensive stories behind each historical piece are quite fascinating, and I am thoroughly enjoying the paintings of the royals as well as photos of the jewels which illustrate the book. It gives you insight into European royalty as well, including history and intriquing stories behind many of their ill-fated lives.

Chapter 11 is a favorite, titled “Diamonds are Christie’s Best Friends,” it chronicles a few of the top-selling, biggest, rarest and most stunning diamonds to ever grace Christie’s auction floor. This chapter opens up about how mysterious and extensive their diamond sales were over the past couple centuries. The earliest diamond consignments reveal not much on where they came from…and in the same breadth, where did they end up once sold? A trio of rubies, for example, went up for auction in 1891. The weight and rarity of any one of these, if they were to resurface, would shatter any record ever set. So astonishing.

Aside from the last chapter, it is noteworthy to check out the Appendix. It lists significant names of pieces/collections that went up for auction by year, starting with the year 1767. It is a great, quick reference as well as a “who’s who” amongst those who sold pieces through Christie’s.

The auction world is quite mysterious, legendary and totally unique. It is one of my favorite parts of my jewelry hobby. This book encompasses all this and more, and should you find yourself daydreaming of all the jaw-dropping jewels that once passed through Christie’s auction house–you might want to buy yourself this book to know exactly how incredible they truly are!

To purchase your own copy of Christie’s The Jewellery Archives Revealed, click below:

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Leslie Hindman Auction Set For December 4th & 5th, 2016

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers Lot 38 Lot 39 Lot 41 Lot 44 Lot 49 Lot 54 Lot 56 Lot 90 Lot 94 Lot 372 Lot 418 Lot 491

Wow, am I really wrapping up the last few jewelry auctions of the year?! I guess so. And if the auction world still hasn’t convinced you that you should be bidding, just relish in all the records that were broke in this year alone. So many amazing collections were sold, items from celebrity owners big and small, rare diamonds of all colors, and bidders happy to celebrate adding some incredible, once-in-a-lifetime pieces to their jewelry hoards. This year for me has been very successful with auctions–I’ve added a few pieces to my collection that I could have never found or purchased solely online or through dealers or stores. I even tried my hand at consigning and absolutely loved the experience–in fact, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers was who I went through selling my first piece at auction, and I was so happy with the outcome that I decided to sell another. The ring I’m consigning is actually in this very sale which I’m about to talk about (and of course, it is in my top picks)! Like I say every year, the December sales are always my favorite and include some of the best jewels. It is like a grand finale for every auction house as they close the year out with a bang.

The Important Jewels Auction at Leslie Hindman is one I’ve been waiting for since their September auction. I’m counting down the days almost like a child waiting for a holiday, and their auction catalog just debuted Monday night, so I’ve been happy-go-lucky all week. As per usual, Leslie Hindman has a two-day event, kicking off on December 4th where 541 items will be auctioned off the first day alone. On the second day, there are 900 items! I don’t have to tell you to prepare yourself and register to bid, you know how important it is! 😉

Below are my top picks from Day One only: Leslie Hindman Auction, December 4th, 2016

Lot 38: Right from the start these stud earrings stood out to me. I’m always looking for a pair of diamond studs that aren’t plain ‘ole diamond studs. Fitting the bill nicely are these because for one they are antique–both Old European cut diamonds and two, they are set in a unique sunburst-like setting. I bet these look amazing on! Estimate: $3,000-5,000

Lot 39: This Art Nouveau piece sparked my interest as soon as I saw the opal displaying its gorgeous colors. The black enamel details, the unique handmade chain, the polychrome detailing on the chain…too many good things in one piece. Although the opals do show some signs of crazing, if taken care of and not exposed to direct light or the sun, they won’t be further damaged. Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Lot 41: Bright blue aquamarine just glows from this unique Art Deco ring up for auction. I love the blue and black enameling on the ring and the two diamond accents. Looks like this piece is in great shape which is amazing considering its age in conjunction with the delicate enamel work. Estimate: $1,500-2,500

Lot 44: I may be playing favorites with this ring and that’s because this is the piece I have put on consignment from my personal collection! Right away I fell for the uniqueness of the marquise cut diamonds set east-west and how bright white the center Old European cut diamond is. Most Old Euros I’ve seen are J-K in color or lower–this one is a G! I hope it finds a good home and maybe even a ring finger because I think it would make a great engagement ring! Estimate: $700-900

Lot 49: How incredible are these giant citrine ear pendants?! You can’t even call them earrings, they’re ear PENDANTS! These are the type of accessory you let pull off your entire look. Statement-making and head-turning for sure. I would wear them around my house on a Sunday and be so happy. Estimate: $200-300

Lot 54: A jaw-dropping piece in its own right, this Renaissance Revival opal pendant/brooch is quite incredible. Sought after for more than one reason, it is actually a piece designed by Paulding Farnham who worked at Tiffany & Co. during the turn-of-the-century. His work is rare and highly collectible, which makes this piece even more special. This particular brooch was featured in the hardcover book Paulding Farnham: Tiffany’s Lost Genius which is the only publication featuring this American designer. Estimate: $20,000-30,000

Lot 56: This Arts & Crafts necklace made me immediately think of the Richard Driehaus Museum and the wonderful Maker & Muse exhibit. This necklace belongs in the exhibit! Composed of turquoise and freshwater pearls, this is a piece of art. I can imagine it draped on someone’s neck in the most sophisticated way. Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Lot 90: I’ve been into these bright blues lately and this piece is certainly the brightest. A nice blue zircon electrifies this brooch, which is also set with nearly a carat of diamonds. From the photo alone you can tell how doubly refractive the zircon is! What a neat piece to add to your collection! Estimate: $1,000-2,000

Lot 94: Elongated rings are my jam and this ring has a lot of great features! The Art Deco ring is set with two Old European cut diamonds with some step cut sapphires dividing both. It is done in platinum and demands attention in the best way possible. Estimate: $800-1,200

Lot 372: An exquisite Cartier piece of history, this ring is set with sapphires and Old Mine cut diamonds all in platinum. It is stamped Cartier and is one of the prettiest Cartier pieces I’ve ever seen! Estimate: $5,000-7,000

Lot 418: Aside of bright blue gemstones, another favorite of mine is multi-color, almost rainbow-like, pieces–like this ring. Done in 18k yellow gold, this ring is designed by Christian Dior and is set with amethyst, citrine, garnet, iolite, peridot, pink tourmaline, and green tourmaline. What a line up of gems! And what a cool design! Estimate: $6,000-8,000

Lot 491: Turquoise and lapis is my new favorite combo! These earrings are seriously the coolest. Plus everyone loves a good turquoise domed cluster. Done in 18k yellow gold and encircled with a perfectly circular piece of lapis, these earclips are the ultimate accessory. Estimate: $700-900

This post was brought to you in collaboration with Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.

 

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Buying Vintage Engagement Rings

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So you know that she wants a vintage engagement ring, but what now? This handy and comprehensive guide, written by the experts at Estate Diamond Jewelry will hopefully shed some light on a journey fraught with potential pitfalls for the uninformed, and make the whole process much easier than it otherwise might be.

A Quick Rundown on the Vintage Eras

We believe that understanding the vintage jewelry eras is very important. These terms are repeated endlessly throughout the vintage jewelry scene, and recognizing the vintage jewelry eras is the first step to beginning to understand vintage jewelry.

The Victorian Era spanned from 1836 – 1901

Victorian-Rings

The Edwardian Era spanned from 1901 – 1915

Edwardian-Rings

The Art Deco Era spanned from 1920 – 1939

Art-Deco-Rings

The Retro Era spanned from 1935 – 1950

Retro-Rings

The earliest era is the Georgian Era, spanning from 1714 – 1835, unfortunately, there aren’t many genuine Georgian Rings available on the market anymore. Most of the genuine Georgian rings are not in a stable enough condition to wear on a daily basis. The Art Nouveau Era, spanned from 1895 – 1910, and partially overlapped the Victorian and Edwardian Era. The Art Nouveau designs and motifs however, didn’t really lend themselves to be easily adapted to the traditional vintage engagement ring. The rings shown above can be found here.

The Four C’s and Diamond Quality

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The Four ‘C’s of diamond classification are Carat (size), Clarity (flawlessness), Color (how “white” it is) and Cut (the quality of the cut and how the finished stone appears). A reputable dealer will happily go over each of these with you for any stone that catches your eye. Even if you have a modest budget, it is important that you feel comfortable and have a good understanding of the stone that you are interested in.

Also, bear in mind that compromising in one area will get you a strength in another. If size is important to you, you may have to compromise on clarity or color to find a diamond within your budget.

The Classes of Diamonds

Carat – The larger the number the heavier the diamond weighs. One carat weighs 200 mg.

Color – The whiteness of the diamond. The whitest diamonds are ranked as a D. The diamonds get more yellow as the letters move closer to Z.

Clarity – The clarity of a diamond ranges from F (no inclusions), IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, I1, I2, and I3 (included).

Cut – The cut measures the perfection of the facets of the diamond. There are four standard rankings: excellent, very good, good, and fair. (Please note that antique diamonds tend to rank lower on this scale because they were cut by hand.)

For a comprehensive walk-through on everything that you need to know about diamonds, click here.

Determining Antique Diamonds

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Determining the age of a diamond accurately is very hard, even for experts, but we can give you a few tips to help you at least determine if the diamond is old.

  • The culet. If you look down the center of the diamond and see a culet (a rounded facet at the bottom) there likelyhood of the diamond being old is extremely high.
  • The table. The table is the flat surface at the top of the diamond. Current GIA standards favor a larger table surface. Older diamonds will usually have much smaller tables.
  • The girdle. A frosted girdle is good indicator that the diamond is old.

For more information on dating antique diamonds and why antique diamonds are treasured, click here.

The Style and Design

Most people have heard the term “solitaire ring” without ever really fully understanding what it means. A solitaire ring is simply a ring with a single stone, usually but not exclusively a diamond, and has become an iconic representation of an engagement ring. But solitaires, as popular as they have become in recent years are just one in an almost endless array of designs for engagement rings.

There are several popular periods for antique engagement rings, many of which have gone on to influence modern day designs significantly. One of the most important periods for design generally, and which had a terrific impact on ring design was the Art Deco period of the early 20th Century. Art Deco is demonstrated by symmetrical, even at times quite aggressive designs that lend themselves perfectly to drawing the eye to the diamond of the engagement ring.

11494-Art-Deco-Antique-Engagement-Ring-Artistic

Considered a little more “edgy” that earlier style periods, both in construction and intent, the symmetry of engagement rings from this period manages to stay clear of straying into what might otherwise have been early “bling” by the considered cut and placement of the stones. It isn’t unusual to see a center diamond surrounded by a pavement of small sapphires or rubies, or even other diamonds. This can allow the center diamond to be a little smaller and, therefore, a little less expensive whilst appearing bigger than it really is.

The fact is, though, that style is a very personal thing. Find something you like, and then ask yourself will your future fiancé like it. Actually looking at her current ring collection before you start shopping, or the ones she wears at least, will give you some idea of what to look for. If she has rings she wears all the time, don’t be afraid to look for an engagement ring that might compliment them, whether by color or design.

Platinum is the metal of choice for the band of the ring, due to it being hypoallergenic, but the choices extend to gold in many colors, giving a wide range of choices. Antique rings from the Victorian Era will very likely have silver in them as well.

To understand a little bit more about vintage motifs and styles, click here.

The Budget

Only you can decide how much your budget should be. Of all the questions that you and your fiancée will be asked about the ring, “How much was it” won’t – or at least shouldn’t – be one of them. As long as you stay within your budget, don’t be drawn into overpaying for a ring just so that you can brag about the cost.

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If your fiancée is really the one for you, you could put an old beer can ring pull on her finger and it wouldn’t matter. (Don’t do that, by the way, the tactic only works in movies.) Leave the cost boasts to the celebrities.

De Beers, the diamond mining and dealing giant first coined the phrase “A month’s salary that lasts a lifetime” to boost sales within a falling diamond market during the lean years of the 1930s. They upgraded it to “Two month’s salary…” by the 1980s, so it seems their campaign paid off.

So is two month’s salary a fair price? It all depends.

Will it be a single solitaire diamond, or one with more stones in the setting? Will it have different stones such as sapphires or rubies as well as the diamonds. How big will the stones be? What will the quality of the stones and the setting be?

Any one of them can make a huge difference to the cost of the ring. The key is NOT to see the vintage ring as an investment, although it will more than likely rise in value, but to see it as part of your life story. A permanent, irrefutable element in a story that now involves two people.

Set your budget and have a cast iron determination to stay within it. Or at least within 20% of the top end if you see something you really like. Whether this is two month’s salary or just enough so you can eat this week makes no difference. The main thing is to find a ring that you’ll both love. An engagement ring isn’t just a piece of jewelry, it is the guardian of a treasured moment that you will share forever.

Quality and Assurances

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This is where finding a reputable dealer with a sound background and credentials becomes crucial.

Most vintage engagement rings will have one primary (and possibly many accenting) diamonds within the setting. As mentioned above, diamonds come in a wide range of qualities and, by extension, values. The best diamonds sell for very high prices and have lots of nuances, but that doesn’t mean lower valued stones should be overlooked.

To all but the practised eye of an expert, many of the internal flaws and color tints that lower some value from the stone will be all but undetectable to an untrained eye, even yours. A trained and honest salesperson should be able to navigate you along the path, educating you along the way, and helping you make this important decision.

Certifications and Insurance

If you have a budget that allows you to consider a diamond in excess of 1 carat, you should get a certification or appraisal into the grading of the stone. These are independently produced and certify the quality of the diamond should you need it at any point for insurance or other purposes.

Speaking of insurance, make sure you get the right level of cover for the ring you buy. There are specialist jewelry insurers as well as cover being usually available from your home and contents insurer. Have the ring re-valued every couple of years and make sure you upgrade the cover if needed. Not that the emotional value of an engagement ring can ever be measured, but loss and damage does happen and a “free” replacement is better than paying twice.

For more information on how to insure your jewelry, click here.

A Final Thought

The value of an engagement ring can’t just be measured in dollars, it’s far too important to simply be a financial thing. What it signifies is a partnership that is taking a significant step forward and which will define you both for decades to come. Above all else, buy an engagement ring that shows the purchase wasn’t just about you. We all like, and need, to feel appreciated so keep that in mind when you make the single biggest “I appreciate you” statement of your life.

This post was written and brought to you by Estate Diamond Jewelry.

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Maha Rani pink Bridal Jewelry

In Indian languages especially in Hindi, colors are named after certain objects – fruits, herbs or even nature.

In Indian languages especially in Hindi, colors are named after certain objects – fruits, herbs or even nature. For example, Sky blue is called Aasmaani (like the sky), olive green is called Mehendi (after henna), pink is called Gulabi (after a rose) and Gray is called Saleti (after slate). But them some names are peculiar and it makes it hard to trace their origins. Case in point – Rani!
Rani refers to a hot pink colour (I don’t know the story behind it, and do tell me in the comments if you know). It is more saturated than a magenta and yet darker than pink. Its vibrant, strong, saturated, rich, and full of life and maybe that is why it is called Rani or Queen (of colors). No wonder I chose it as the brand colour (albeit a slightly darker shade) of Sayuri.
Though hot pink is a very common colour in fabrics, it is very difficult to source jewelry supplies for it. A Supplier once told me that the hot pink color is very difficult to achieve while dyeing beads as they tend to lose out the vibrancy very fast and for the extra trouble, they are priced higher than similar beads of other colors.
I get a lot of requests for rani pink flower jewelry, but I turn down most of them as I find it very hard to source hot pink flowers. Here are pictures of two similar sets I made recently after a lot of hunting for materials. Take a look.

Rani pink Bridal Jewelry


After I made the first set, I realised that it look more royal than I excepted so I thought why not call it maharani pink instead of rani pink. Most dictionaries describe or Define “Maharani” as the wife of a Maharaja, an empress to an emperor but is that all, what makes one a Maharani?

Rani pink Bridal Jewelry

Most vernacular languages, have words that lose their emotion (or feeling) when translated into English. I feel that Maharani is one of them. More than a position, it is an endearment, an estimation of how beautiful someone is. Where I come from, there are endearing terms that a loved one uses to describe a girl/woman who is traditionally dressed (usually a saree and jewellery). These words will be accompanied by gazes of love (adoration), pride and most often than not , a long sigh! For instance, a father would refer to his daughter as “Rani” or queen, a boyfriend or a husband who call her his “devathai” or angel and the grandmother would call her a “Maharani” blessing her with a long and fruitful life.

Maang tikka and haathphool
Indian bridal jewellery might start at the crown of the head but a lot of importance is given to what is worn on the feet. Toerings due to their ability to compress pressure points impacting fertility have the foremost importance but anklets come a close second. In my first set, I made an exotic looking mixed flower anklet with 8 different types of flowers. The idea here is that every bride should dress up her feet as she takes the first step towards holy matrimony. Too cheesy? I thought so too!


In the first set, I made a statement Five strand Ranihaar in pink and gold with red, pink and a gold bead choker necklace with red and pink roses. I used bud roses, full roses, button roses and daisies in 3 different colors to create bracelets, rings, anklets, headpiece, armlets (first image of this post) and clips for the braid.

The second set was simpler with just the long necklace in a different pattern, a simple choker, grander headpiece, 2 flower earrings and slave bracelet with similar flowers.

Norman Mailer once said that “The highest prize in a world of men is the most beautiful woman available on your arm and living there in her heart loyal to you….”

So here‘s to all the heartfelt love and the beautiful jewelry that make gorgeous women even more fabulous– that make them the Maharanis of the world.

I hope you found it interesting
Cheers

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Jewels at my Doorstep: BCE Jewelry

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Not every girl goes from making beaded bracelets when she was little to creating her own jewelry line years later. This is the story of BCE Jewelry and it is her pure talent and style that has gotten her far, along with her cult following (including myself) who anticipate every Instagram post she makes revealing new designs! I feel like I’ve been following Becca since “the beginning” but I guess truly the start was before Instagram…before the Internet…back in the 80s/90s when she begged her dad to walk down a few blocks from his office to check out a local bead shop. She reminisces, “I’d spending hours there, torturing the sales ladies with questions and finally leave with a few things. When I got back I would string the pieces together and sell them to all the ladies at the office (who I’m sure bought them out of charity).”

Interestingly enough, that’s all she needed to spur a love for jewelry. That, and her grandmother gifting some rings her father once made back in the 70s. These memories stick with her and have shaped her budding jewelry career. BCE Jewelry stands for “before common era,” an ode to all that inspires her–this includes ancient civilizations, Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine jewelry. History fascinates Becca, which also has a heavy influence on the way she decorates her house–an obsession we both share. I love following along on Instagram and seeing snapshots of her antique paintings hung in a story-telling vignette, with brass accents mixed with California ranch-style living. She calls Carmel Valley home, just south of San Francisco where she moved for a year to study and learn the craft of jewelry making.

The BCE Jewelry design aesthetic has evolved, now making pieces mostly in 14k yellow gold and incredibly unique gemstones–like boulder opals, turquoise, variscite, diamonds, and tourmalines. One-of-a-kind pieces are her forte, as these gemstones are one-offs; each opal has a certain play-of-color, each turquoise has a unique pattern, each variscite has a special mottling. In the future, Becca has big plans for using more antique diamonds, both Old Mine cuts and Old European cuts. I personally love her designs all stacked together, worn across the board. Getting to play with her designs in real life was so much fun. I’ve become addicted and I can’t wait to own my very own someday! My sister-in-law was so taken by the light blue turquoise ring in my photos above, that she made that one hers!

For the photoshoot, I wanted to play off of the multi-hued blues and greens which BCE Jewelry constantly showcases. From deep lapis blue to Robin’s egg blue–minty green and even forest green, all these colors needed to be there! I felt the theme needed to have an almost “out of this world” feel, where the theme song would definitely be Beastie Boy’s Intergalatic, on repeat. Hope you enjoy and get inspired!

Jewelry Details: (as referenced from last photo)

Three-stone cabochon tourmaline ring set in 14k yellow gold, Price: $980

X-Large Variscite ring set with three diamonds in 14k yellow gold, Price: $1,200

Blue Kingman turquoise ring set with diamonds down the center in 14k yellow gold, $900

Small Chinese turquoise ring set in 14k yellow gold, $480

Light blue Arizona turquoise ring set with diamonds (North & South) in 14k yellow gold (Sold–can always make another similar piece)

Large green Damele turquoise ring set with white diamonds in 14k gold, Price: $1,350

All earrings pictured are BCE Jewelry as well, inquire for details!

——> as always, custom pieces can be created upon requst <——–

bcejewelry

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Let’s Talk The Clay Pot, Located in Brooklyn & Nolita

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I’ve come to know The Clay Pot as a cool spot in Brooklyn (and now Nolita as well) where hip, young brides go for their wedding rings and where unique jewelry designers are featured, serving up a generous portion of awesomeness for customers who walk through the door. What I didn’t know was that this store has been around since 1969! Yes it’s true, current owner Tara Silberberg’s parents first opened The Clay Pot to sell her mom’s beautiful pottery creations–no jewelry in sight. It wasn’t until 1989 when Tara’s father came up with a long-shot plan of featuring wedding bands in a gallery show. The idea turned out to be a hit–they sold 20 wedding bands in one day! Tara then came into the picture in the early 90s, where she convinced her parents to invest in fashionable jewelers, not just craft show designers. Tara says, “My first big buy was Lisa Jenks, who was the star jeweler at Barney’s in the early 90’s. I was one of the first stores in the country to carry Me&Ro, which I bought out of a hotel room from Aurora Lopez who had just started repping them. I have always been interested in new talent and support new people coming onto the scene.”

Fast forward to today and The Clay Pot is now mostly jewelry, but has expanded into lots of different styles, metals and gemstones, with an emphasis on bridal jewelry. Their Nolita store showcases their knack for alternative engagement and wedding styles–like rough diamonds, raw gemstones, interesting settings, vintage-inspired, conflict-free diamonds and much more. The Clay Pot is also in tune with up-and-coming designers as they enjoy seeking out new and hidden talents from creative jewelry artists around the globe.

Being a mainstay in the city’s Park Slope village for nearly a half-century has garnered The Clay Pot a loyal fanbase and customers who will purchase from them on every occasion! Their designer line-up is no joke and keeps people coming back. Designers like Polly Wales, Lori McLean, Blanca Monros Gomez, Rebecca Overmann, Katie Diamond, Megan Thorne, Sofia Kaman, just to name a few. I’m a huge fan of Ruth Tomlinson and her designs, and I actually first discovered Ruth on The Clay Pot’s website.

You should know, The Clay Pot is having their annual ring sale–now through February 22nd, they are offering 10-15% off the price of custom made bridal rings. The Clay Pot has partnered with designers and are able to offer this amazing discount for “early bird” shoppers who are looking to save for their spring weddings. Also, check out the “Lucky Size” sale, where discontinued rings range from 40-50% off their original prices.

The Clay Pot is located at 22 Spring Street between Mott and Elizabeth Streets – for more information, please call 800.989.3579 or visit www.clay-pot.com

Make sure you stop by if you’re in the Brooklyn or Nolita areas!! I can’t wait to make a visit in the future.

Above photos:

  • Some store photos–interior and exterior, both beautiful and inspiring
  • Blanca Monros Gomez– Vena Amoris Nesting ring in 18ky with .65ct of brilliant and marquise diamonds. handmade in NYC with assorted bands.
  • Photo from Alex Kogan from the Infinity line. These are new rings based off of vintage designs, which is great for customers because they can be created to fit a customer’s heirloom stone or other specifications. Done in platinum or 18k white gold, set with diamonds and blue sapphires.
  • All Jennifer Dawes rings in 18k, sapphire and diamond engagement ring, floral band with champagne rose cut diamond, and three misty diamond engagement ring.
  • Rings from Lori McLean in 14k yellow and 14k white gold with diamonds and sapphires. Lori uses a lot of old European cut diamonds and heirloom stones in her pieces.
  • A gorgeous stack of rings highlighting what is offered at their store!
  • An amazing, one-of-a-kind pair of Montana agate earrings by Kothari

This post was brought to you in collaboration with The Clay Pot & The Cut.

The Clay Pot

The Clay Pot

CP Brooklyn

162 7th Avenue • Brooklyn, NY 11215

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CP Nolita

22 Spring Street • New York, NY 10012

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Be Bold with a Men’s Brasilia

Orange represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. To the human eye, orange is a very hot color, so it gives the sensation of heat. Nevertheless, orange is not as aggressive as red. Orange increases oxygen supply to the brain, produces an invigorating effect, and stimulates mental activity.

So say the experts at Color-Wheel-Pro.com at least, but we are inclined to agree with them, especially when it comes to brilliant red-orange leather strap that holds the Ebel Brasilia watches for men. Now, we realize that we recently covered other Ebel watches, including the Brasilia, but could not see this leather number go away into obscurity.

Make no mistake, this watch is for men. Do not let the encrusted 106 white diamonds sway you into needlessly doubting the timepiece’s gender. This Brasilia model is for men, but not for those who allow silly conventions to rule over their lives. Reread the various abstractions that orange represents: creativity, determination, attraction, success. If these words mean anything to you (and we think they do), the leather strapped Brasilia men’s watch is guaranteed to confirm that. Be your own man. Be your own person, and opt for an Ebel watch in time for the new year!

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