Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Bonnie Ring

The Gangsters, Outlaws and Lawmen auction took place on June 24th in Boston, Massachusetts. The auction featured a ring crafted by the notorious American gangster, Clyde Chestnut Barrow. The piece was a gift to his sweetheart, Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, as a promise ring since the couple was never wed or able to do so during their intense two year courtship.  

Barrow and his brother Buck were both amateur craftsmen that made jewelry, leather-work, and woodwork during their time in Eastham Farm Prison in Texas. The “Bonnie Ring” was believed to have been made during Barrow’s time there from 1930 to 1932.

The three headed snake ring is most likely silver plated copper, and like most jewelry tells a story. The ring bears the hallmark of an arrow striking a music note, Barrow’s signature.  It’s well-known that the gangster had a passion for music, and the arrow is thought to be wordplay on his surname (B)arrow. The serpent is a Victorian symbol used to represent eternal love. The snake ring trend was popularized when Prince Albert gifted Queen Victoria an emerald set snake ring in 1840. We see that this fashion remained strong nearly a century later with the creation of “the Bonnie ring”.

Bonnie Parker lost this ring when the couple’s stolen 1933 Ford Model B was riddled by a hail of police gunfire in Sowers, Tx.  The couple fled on foot narrowly escaping arrest, leaving behind personal articles in the abandoned vehicle.  “The Bonnie Ring” was claimed by officer Schmid who led the ambush, and the ring remained with the Schmid family until this auction.

The “Bonnie Ring” sold for $25,000; much less than its predicted selling price of $40,000.

Though the ring is not comprised of precious material, it is lofty in its historical clout as a testament to the whirlwind lovestruck romance the two gangsters shared for one another and how they enamored America with their wild escapade that ultimately ended in their very romanticized demise.


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Rockefeller Emerald, World's Most Expensive Emerald per Carat

In May Christie’s announced it would auction the famous Rockefeller Emerald at its New York location.  Mid June that promise came into fruition when Harry Winston bought the ring for $5.5 million, making it the most expensive emerald, per carat, ever sold.

The rare Colombian emerald stone is an untreated 18ct octagonal step cut that was purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. in 1930 as a gift for his wife.  The emerald was originally set as a brooch, then converted to a platinum ring by their son, David Rockefeller, when he inherited the stone in 1948.  The stone was set by the Rockefeller family jeweler Raymond Yard.

Photo courtesy of Christie's

Other notable stones that were held by the Rockefeller family was a 101.73ct flawless diamond that was also bought by Harry Winston for $26.7 million in 2013. Another is the 62ct Rockefeller Sapphire from Burma that was acquired by the family in 1934. The stone was cut by Pierre Cartier into a rectangular step cut and mounted into a brooch. The sapphire sold for $3 million at Christie’s New York in 2001.

Photo courtesy of Christie's

Harry Winston is accumulating these infamous stones in hopes of opening a Harry Winston museum in New York to house these significant gems.  


Thursday, June 22, 2017

My Engagement Experience

I have spent a significant amount of my career finding the perfect ring for others, when finally last June came my turn.  Unconventionally I set out ring shopping with my mother.  Josh was open to me styling my own ring since jewelry is something I’m incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about.

To start, the best advice I can give is talk to your friends then try on everything before making any kind of decision. Try on styles that you would never imagine trying on, try the big stone and a small stone, try different metals, try everything. By doing this you’ll positively know when you found the perfect ring.  By talking with friends they will tell you where and who they went to, what they liked and didn’t like about the process. This really helps you to know what to expect when going to different shops.

My adventure started out just like that. I asked around and conceived a list of places to look, then tried on EVERYTHING, even if it wasn’t my style.

In the end I decided on a local jeweler Bario Neal. I knew I wanted a three stone style with a yellow center.  Why did I choose yellow? Well, I knew I was going with a simple design so I wanted a way to give the ring a personal twist. Having worked extensively with jewelry, I have seen so many engagement rings and really wanted something of my own that I have not seen repeatedly.  Also the journey of the yellow diamond intrigued me, so I liked the idea of having a little bit of history on my finger.

Photo by Bario Neal

Happy with my sketch, I waited for the jeweler to receive in a choice between two yellow cushion cut Kalahari diamonds from their contact in Namibia.  In cooperation with De Beers, this Namibian source mined and manufactured these diamonds. So not only am I aware of the origin of my stone, I also know I was ethically supporting the diamond economy locally in Africa.  Having this much information about my ring really got me curious and I further delved into how the yellow diamond came about as a engagement choice historically.

I found that India has been the birthplace for some of the world’s most incredibly colored stones.  These stones were very much part of past Indian culture. In fact, different colored diamonds were used within India’s caste system in the sixth-century.  

Brahmins, the priests and rulers, had white to colorless diamonds.
Landowners and warriors were defined by brown diamonds.
The merchant class, yellow. The lower classes then had heavily included grayish to black diamonds.

Beyond using colored stones as an identifying tool, fancy colored diamonds were seen as a nuanced novelty.  They did not garner popularity until the discovery of the Australian Argyle Mine in the 1980’s.

Now we have coined trade terms such as Canary and Champagne as well as other tantalizing titles to describe a diamond's color.

A diamond's journey to discovery is an arduous one where nature incubates the stone into existence in a very specific way.  The mineral carbon under intense heat and pressure within the earth’s mantle is nature’s recipe for a diamond.  Once created that diamond is then carried to the earth’s surface by a release in pressure, often some sort of volcanic activity.

Colored diamonds are produced because of the presence of trace elements. In my yellow diamond’s case, nitrogen is the reason for color the stone. The amount of nitrogen determines the color intensity. I loved the softness of the yellow in my stone in contrast to the hard yellow color of the 18 karat metal I chose.  The stone had a delicate feel, giving off a nurturing sensitivity about the beginning of this new part of Josh and I’s relationship.  It fit exactly how I felt.

So on top of color I was intrigued by story that this particular diamond had to tell, it became unique to me as well as being aesthetically pleasing to my taste.

You can check out Bario Neal's Spring 2017 collection here as well as other fun jewels:

Friday, May 19, 2017

Artemis and Apollo, the world's most expensive earrings

In Greek mythos Apollo and Artemis are the twin offspring of Zeus and Leto.
Artemis is revered as the Greek goddess of the Hunt, her brother Apollo is revered as the Greek god of medicine and healing, also known to bring illness and plague.

In the gem world the twins Apollo and Artemis are known as the world’s most expensive earrings, selling for $57.4 million at the Sotheby’s 2017 Magnificent Jewels and Noble Jewels auction held in Geneva on May 16th.

The pair was originally estimated to sell for around $70 million and were believed to be sold off separately.  However a private buyer preserved the romanticism of the twin earrings by purchasing them as set.

Artemis is 16ct VVS2 pink pear diamond that was purchased for $15.3million while her brother Apollo, a flawless 14.54ct pear, sold for much more at $42.1 million.  This is because Apollo has a rarer deep vivid blue coloring caused by its exposure to the element boron during formation.
Adding to Apollo’s legacy it is documented to have been sourced from the famed Cullinan Mine in South Africa.  Yes, the same mine responsible for the British Crown Jewels.

Since the pair went to a private buyer, they are unlikely to be seen for some time, so hopefully those able to attend the auction were able to revel in their cosmically named brilliance.


Monday, February 27, 2017

Charlize Theron wearing "Garden of Kalahari"

Charlize Theron elevated her pleated gold Dior dress with showstopping asymmetrical diamond drop earrings from Chopard’s “Garden of Kalahari” collection.

Crafted using fairmined 18 karat white gold and weighing in at 59.9 carats, the earrings are the definition of dripping in diamonds.

Twenty-three diamonds form the “Garden of Kalahari” collection, all cut from a single 342 carat rough diamond dubbed “The Queen of Kalahari”.
The designs are the brainchild of artisan Caroline Scheufele, who masterfully created an enchanted garden scene depicted by these breathtaking jewels.

The neckpiece is the focal point of the collection but was not worn by Theron.  It can be worn four different ways to drape the neckline in a whimsical garden theme.   

Two of the pendants of the necklace can detach and be worn as the earrings as shown on Theron.

The modified earrings mesmerize as the mismatched pear and heart stones are both graded a D in color and are flawless in clarity.  The heart is slightly heavier at 26 carats while the pear weighs in at 25 carats. The dazzling stones are accentuated by 4.35 carats worth of brilliant cut diamonds.

Charlize Theron’s choice in jewelry demonstrated that timeless craft can captivate when artfully showcased for the world to see, enrapturing with it’s unique brilliance.