Friday, December 16, 2016

Shirley Temple Jewels featured in Heritage Auction Holiday Sale

Art is a time stamp, you can know what an era was like by looking at a piece of work it left behind.  What the values were, what was interesting to the time, and of course the fashion.  Art is timeless in that it will always be beautiful no matter how much the world has changed, and in its beauty it holds little clues of how we developed to be where we are now.

Jewelry is unique in how personal and intimate it can be; It is worn, loved, and often a keepsake.  A memory of a relative, a gift from a significant other, a reward for a personal achievement.  It gets passed along the generations until the sentiment is lost and what is left is its clue to history.  Seeing people unearth new gemstones and creating new ways to cut and mount them.  We can see in a piece of jewelry how it was made, what the technology was for that time, what was being discovered.  The shift from rose cut stones to the faceting we have today was part of a scientific revolution. Going from hand cut and having to reflect candlelight, to being laser cut to reflect fluorescent lights.  We see progression but that doesn’t make the old any less beautiful or unwanted.

Early in December we got to see a piece of history with Heritage Auction’s Holiday Signature Sale, showcasing over 2,000 jewels to bid on, 80 of which belonged to Shirley Temple.

We can see an expansive timeline of incredible works. Some are common but extraordinarily set, while some stones are so exotic they don’t even need to be mounted to be valued.

I chose some of my favorites of the sale to share below.

Shirley Temple, Cartier Lapis and Turquoise Ring

Shirley Temple, Cartier Lapis, Pearl Tassel

Shirley Temple, Multi-Stone Brooch
Created by Lebon & B.

Shirley Temple, Lapis Dragon Cuff
Shirley Temple, Ruby and Dia Platinum Bracelet

Shirley Temple, Jade, Ruby, and Sapphire

Shirley Temple, Platinum Yellow Dia Ring

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Millennials and Diamonds, an Open Letter

Typically I just post about jewelry projects that interest me and try to keep my blog light and informative, but as a millennial working in the jewelry industry I am tired of being told what I want and what I should be looking for by the founding diamond companies. It’s getting too painful to ignore the broadening disconnect between iconic brands and the millennial customers they are trying to impress. It almost seems like “millennial” is a buzzword that no one really bothered to research.

I keep coming across campaigns catered to my age group, like parents talking over their children's heads, like they are not there, incapable of listening and understanding.  I see it, I hear you, and your are missing our thought process by miles.

The most recent campaign I have come across is Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond.  Released by Diamond Producers Association (DPA) trying to appeal to the millennial with a whimsical video of a carefree couple lost in the wanderlust of life.  The short video is comprised of flashes of incoherent images with a monologue detailing a topical description of their "real" relationship. DPA makes a desperate attempt to move away from the marketing archetype of diamonds = marriage, but it falls short. They are trying to loosen up and connect to millennials with a video that seems forced, insincere, and the diamonds weren't even the focal point. I lost interest in the strained story and actually ended up focusing more on the clothing in the video than the diamond necklaces that were being shown. In the end the same archaic message weakly came across, couples should solidify a relationship by gifting diamonds.

Another campaign I’ve seen recently is from De Beers. De Beers had the incredibly successful 1947 Ad campaign A Diamond is Forever by copy-writer Frances Gerety of N.W. Ayer & Son. At the time De Beers was top dog of the industry controlling the ebb and flow of diamond resources.  So of course they would be able to control the media for the diamond as well.  Now the diamond giant has been minimized due to bad press and in 2012 De Beers has shifted 85% of its ownership to another diamond company.

So now, with less clout than they had before, they tried to strike gold again with their 2015 campaign, Seize the Day.  The campaign failed to impress since it was more of the same boring concept, shoving engagement rings at the consumer so aggressively that they walk away. We live in a time where our worth is not determined by marriage, so why does the industry keep advertising that way?

Too be blunt, most of the diamonds I own I have bought myself with my hard earned money.  A treat I was proud to purchase for myself because I work with jewelry and like jewelry.  As for my longtime boyfriend, he does shower me with gifts whether it be jewelry or artwork, it does not matter, the gift was thoughtful and by no means defined our relationship.

A powerful Ad I think people would respond to would cater to the fact most millennial women buy themselves jewelry as a deserved treat.  The industry does realize that we are the bulk of the US diamond buying market, but they clearly still do not understand why.  They do not understand that we have satisfaction in working hard and earning something we desired.  It is completely gratifying to wear something you worked for. To go out with friends and say, “I worked overtime and absolutely owned my latest project, I treated myself to new earrings”.

Not at all to undermine the institution of marriage, I just went engagement ring shopping myself, but it needs to be realized engagement is not the cornerstone of the diamond market anymore, it’s a part of a whole view.  And if you keep only looking at one small facet of an idea, you are bound to miss a major amount of opportunity. I love diamonds, I love the industry, I love my job, but I am at a complete loss every time I see a new campaign catered to “the millennial”.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rashida Jones' New Jewelry Line Iconery

My hair inspiration Rashida Jones just launched her own jewelry collection, Iconery, in time for the upcoming Holiday season. See Her line here.

The color palette is high contrasting yellow gold and black stones with the core design concepts of protection and life.

Historically gems and jewelry were viewed as talismans with mythical powers, so it’s fun seeing Iconery playing with those ancient roots even being clever with the name itself.  The brand uses two prevalent portrayals from ancient religious iconography.

One motif used in the line is the Ankh, an Egyptian symbol meaning life. In Latin it is referred to as crux ansata “cross with a handle”. Ancient Egyptians believed we were to spend this life preparing for the next eternal life.  A concept that other cultures adopted and transformed into newer religions. Egyptian gods were often pictured holding the Ankh by its handle or holding it whilst crossing their arms across their chest.  

The other icon used is a Hamsa. Arabic/Hebrew in roots, it is a depiction of an open right palm. The Arabic work Khamsah translates to “five”, but could also mean “the five fingers of the hand”.  The Hamsa is believed to be a symbol of protection, often worn in jewelry or used as decor in the home. It is heavily associated with the evil eye, the curse of a malevolent glare.

The line is easy to stylishly layer as it has basic pieces to go along with the more symbolic pieces. The gold tone invokes the ancient roots of the iconography used. The price range is incredibly reasonable to give as a gift or to treat yourself. Overall I can see it doing well and hope to see her elaborate more on this empowering idea.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Favorite Jewels at NY Fashion Week

This past week the style savvy lurked online seeing the new trends to look for to reign in fall and spring.  Glossing over cold shoulder blouses, velvet dresses, suede skirts, and mixed patterns galore.  But no outfit is complete without the perfect accessories to compliment the style story being created. Taking a look at what was accessorizing the runway, I picked a few of my favorites.

First up is Tory Burch accessorizing skeletal fish pieces.  Whimsical, fun, but not distracting.  In fact the bronze earring was a great bold shape complementing the model’s hair and face, but the neutral color blended into the look instead of taking away from it.

Next Altuzarra smartly utilized boldly colored hoops to emphasize their pieces.  The design is simple, a large twisted hoop that was used throughout the entirety of the show. The size was perfect, not large enough to distract but large enough to give a pop of color from a distance and really round a look.

Tibi went with emphasis on one ear, creating a torqued of kilter energy to the models walk.  Having the earring dangle on a thin wire gave the illusion an amorphous metallic shape floating above the model’s shoulder.  It was an interesting decision to add heaviness to that area of the body, but one that really worked. The earring really elevated the looks of the show by subtly setting a mood. The earring itself appears to be fold formed metal which gives off a feel of liquid metal, setting the tone for the model’s walk, fluid and with intention.

Rodarte styled beaded headpieces to complement lace looks. Once again there was a lot of emphasis on one side of the head but this this time beaded strands strung along below the chin to connect to the other ear.  The draped strands swayed rhythmically to the models walk feeding into the energy of the show.  The headpiece created a regal look reminiscent of Hindu wedding jewelry making it by far one of the more romantic jewelry choices used this year.


Friday, August 5, 2016

Jewelry of the DNC

The Democratic National Convention is not the first place you would think to see remarkable jewelry, but this year had a tremendous amount of feminism was personified via wardrobe.

Katy Perry dazzled in her patriotic ensemble as she belted out her empowering anthems “Roar” and “Rise”.  The usually outlandishly dressed star had a more subdued look Thursday evening, wearing a sparkling neutral pencil dress by Michael Kors. She did opt to add a little of her famous pizzaz by donning 1970 vintage Bulgari. The neck-piece was from Bulgari’s 1973 “Stars and Stripes” collection, originally donned by that decade’s superstar Cher to commemorate the opening of Bulgari’s New York boutique.

The necklace was borrowed from Carlo Eleuteri’s personal collection, the bold piece glossed in red and blue enameling, accented by diamond detail to create a star spangled statement piece. The piece is fun,eclectic, and was the perfect addition to style Perry’s DNC look.

As gorgeous as Katy Perry looked, the real talk of the night was Madeleine Albright’s flawless “Shattered Glass Ceiling” brooch.  A very powerful piece worn by the first woman to become Secretary of State, worn as a symbol to continue to push social boundaries for the female gender.  Hillary Clinton is the first female presidential nominee for a major U.S. party, following in the steps of Victoria Woodhull who dared to run for president in the far less progressive time of 1872.  Albright acknowledges this by wearing a simple gold bar accompanied by crushed glass that glittered to catch every eye at the convention.  A very poetic piece exemplifying the pride Albright has for the women that keep us dreaming big and do not take no for an answer.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chic Up the FitBit

I've noticed the movement on Social Media of the constant need to share and relay our fitness accomplishments.  This innate need to share our personal growth is so much easier with how so many of us are incredibly attached to our phones. At our finger tips we literally have hundreds of Apps at our disposal to satisfy any kind of fitness fad we decide to choose next.  I am guilty of it myself, sharing my run statistics daily to an online running club group.  

So now we have accessories that aid us in our endeavor to monitor our steps, heart rate, sleep REM, you name it, there is an APP or some kind of device out there created for it. What I have run into is I would love a fitbit, as an avid city walker I'd love to know how much I run around in a day.  The thing is, I just cant see myself wearing one, as someone who works with jewelry, I cannot fathom putting something on my body that does not match the rest of my wardrobe.  So my question is, can we make these tech devices pretty?

It's a new market field that some companies are jumping on, to make science fashionable.  With more people than ever using social media to share every aspect of our lives, it only makes sense to try to gain more consumers, and by doing so you want to cater to those that want their fitbit to scintillate in the sun because the chances are they will take a picture of the product and share it to their followers. Easy free brand advertising! It's a perfect recipe for success, so I wanted to take a look at who decided to take the risk and try out this market.

The first is Tory Burch one of the chicest brands out there has delved elbow deep into making the fitbit fab by partnering with the fitbit brand itself. They know their clientele would not be caught dead wearing something bulky and clashing on their wrist so they took care with their design.

The Tory Burch design is their iconic "T" that is offset by radiating grooves to echo the "T" pattern. The bold geometric gloss of metal gives a very Greek Goddess feel. This piece of merchandise is style savvy but a bit pricey since you are paying for a brand.


Another contender is a company that has built its brand on the merriment of fashion and technology, Bezels and Bytes.  With cute alliteration I'm already sold on the fun and hip vibe that the company sends out.  It seems more down to earth than the Tory Burch campaign, more approachable, much more likely something I could wear daily. Here we have a rectangular metal case with a patterned motif whether it is hammered metal, studs, or a woven pattern, they went for a uniform finish easy to style. Paired with the case are fun colorful straps, a much lighter option than a bangle, and definitely a better wear for the impending summer.

 And for all the thrifty shoppers out there, there is always Etsy and Amazon.  Doing a cursory search I see copious styles and variations to fabulously wear a fitbit.  As I always, I warn that with Etsy the quality may not be there and as someone who breaks out from cheap metal, I tend to avoid users that do not have reviews. However if you like to live dangerously, delve right in because there are a ton more options there than there is anywhere else. 

All in all, I really dig fashion getting fit, there are plenty of styles to peruse through to find a look that works for you.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Happy Easter, Let's look at the Diamond Jubilee Faberge Egg

In honor of Easter I figured I could post about a Faberge Egg that has been capturing my eye for awhile. It was created for the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary as Queen Regent.  A Diamond Jubilee was only celebrated once before for the beloved Queen Victoria in 1897. 


In the Queen’s honor, Faberge constructed an egg utilizing 500 grams of rose gold and set it with 60 stones, a stone to represent each year of the Queen's reign.  The stones used were diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires to create a colorfully playful echo of Faberge's Matelasse Jewelry Collection. 


The 2012 Matelasse Collection is a contemporary design based off the vintage quilting motif found in the Romanov Palace, specifically Queen Alexandra’s Salon the Mauve Room in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo, Saint Petersburg Russia. The Mauve Salon had a soft violet opal hue, chosen by the Empress Alexandra herself to honor a lilac that her husband Tsar Nicholas had given to her.  The room was incredibly chic for it’s time in 1896, which Faberge emulates using the soft feminine hue of rose gold metal.  The criss cross pattern used in the jewelry masterfully makes metal look like the soft cushions used in the Empress’ boudoir,  even embellishing where the lines intersect with a stone, the same as a cushion would have a button.  


It was the Imperial Russian Family who originally commissioned Fabrege to create the ornate eggs in 1885, as a Easter gift,continuing the tradition yearly until 1917 (further history can be found here:  So it was no surprise that the brilliant goldsmithing company would draw it’s inspiration for Queen Elizabeth II’s gift from the originating egg family.


Monday, January 25, 2016

A look at Heritage in Bloom

   Pictured above "Heritage Flower Gaze"

Chinese jewelry retailer, Chow Tai Fook, purchased the Cullian Heritage rough diamond in 2010 at 35.3 million dollars.  Weighing in at an astounding 507.55 carats, artist Wallace Chan undertook the task to cut this miraculously (D) in color, near flawless diamond into several smaller counterparts in the journey to create his masterpiece, “A Heritage in Bloom”

47,000 hours of manipulation to yield the gorgeous and innovative neckpiece that can be worn 27 different ways.  Adorning the very center is a 104 ct Forever Mark inscribed diamond cut from the Cullian Heritage.  It is set in a layered seat to create dimension and to keep continuity of the piece, the eye completely remains undistracted by the setting and can focus on the form of the piece.  This centerpiece is echoed by its smaller cut brethren descending from the same Cullian Heritage diamond creating a sense if unity and completeness.  Historically we rarely see a cohesive plan for a high grade diamond, typically it gets passed around and cut down several times , so it’s truly beautiful to have it cut and set altogether in one place, one story from beginning to end.

Incorporated into the necklace are winged bats, a symbol of good fortune in the Chinese culture.This iconography is coupled with diamond and jade encrusted butterflies, a symbol of eternal love.

                                                  "Heritage Bright Day"

This neckpiece has an optimistic undertone of love and fortune apparent in the symbolism described above, but the mood is well executed in the utilization so soft pink diamonds and light shades of jade.  It portrays a soft tone of innocence and delicateness that we associate with love.  The sharpest edge in the piece is that of the bat wings that rest upon ones shoulder, even that has a sensual curve that we would not find in the bat anatomy in nature.

                                                    "Heritage Ethereal"

In past decades, even centuries, a piece as ornate as this would be created to showcase the wealth and power of the commissioner.  Here in the modern era we are treated in the delight to marvel it as a spectacular piece of museum quality art.  A means to push our ideas of how we can create something beautiful from something rough and amorphous, and have the end game be something to be admired for years to come.


Artist's Site: