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Difference between antique and vintage jewelry

Lady wearing hat brooch

If you are confused or unsure of the differences among  AntiqueVintage and Estate items, you are not alone. The three are confused and misused quite often. But here is a quick analysis of the difference among three categories: estate, antique, and vintage jewelry. You’ll no longer be confused.

Estate Jewelry 

This one is really easy. If an item has a previous owner it is considered “Estate”. However, that does not mean it’s vintage or antique. Or, necessarily unique or valuable. Nor does it mean the previous owner is deceased. While the previous owners of a considerable percentage of estate jewelry have passed away, that status should have nothing to do with the value of the “estate.”   Therefore, while many estate pieces on the market today may be 50, 100, even 150+ years old, age is not a determining factor when it comes to classifying estate jewelry. You shouldn’t ignore these estate sales if you are a collector. There may be a genuine antique awaiting you. Or, just a simply a beautiful, collectable piece of jewelry or objet d’art. But you should know the differences between antique and vintage jewelry before you make a purchase.

Antique Jewelry 

What’s the difference between antique and vintage jewelry? A piece of jewelry is considered “Antique” if it is a 100 years or older. In general, you’ll find antique jewelry is crafted with a superior level of craftsmanship. That includes higher-quality materials compared to modern pieces found on the market today. However, due to the relative scarcity and sheer age of jewelry by the time it can be classified as “antique”, the majority of antique jewelry is too valuable to be worn or at times even displayed. But many pieces are in excellent condition and can be worn with pride. In order to determine whether or not an item is antique, you’ll have to do some research to make sure it isn’t a fake.

All about Vintage Jewelry

On the other hand, a piece of jewelry is considered “vintage” if it is between 50 years old and 100 years old.  Vintage pieces are often worn and displayed, as they are more likely to be in excellent condition. Vintage jewelry designs are also easier to incorporate into fashion-forward outfits to create unique statements—as vintage jewelry designs are relatively current, easily paring with today’s hottest trends while adding an extra flair to any outfit! But if you have a great antique piece and it’s in good condition, wear it by all means! What a great conversation starter.

Along these lines, read our blog about the difference between Art Deco and Art Nouveau.

If you would like to learn more about gemstones, go the the education section of GIA.

Read all our blogs about jewelry/objet d’art

Also, you might like to check out our Vintage Costume Jewelry collection. The pieces are gorgeous. How about our Objet d’Art collection. Exquisite.

Whatever you purchase from Regency Jewelry can be trusted to be as we say. Our items are appraised by an independent, certified appraiser. 

 

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Pearls lore and history from 2200 BC to now

Six strand opera length pearl necklace
The history of Pearls
The Canning Jewel from 1560, now in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, uses a baroque pearl to form the body of a Triton.

Pearls:  their lore and history

While many of us love pearls, many do not know about pearls and their lore and history. This blog will help expand your knowledge of this beautiful, organic stone.

PEARL BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY. This enchanting June birthstone originates from oceans, lakes and rivers around the world. It is a timeless wardrobe staple, beloved by women of all ages. The origin of pearls fascinated our forebears. Ancients from the Middle East believed that pearls were teardrops fallen from heaven. The Chinese fancied that the June birthstone came from the brain of a dragon. Christopher Columbus and his contemporaries thought that mollusks formed pearls from dew drops.

Pearls are organic gems

Pearls are organic gems that grow inside the tissue of a living saltwater or freshwater mollusk (either an oyster or a mussel). Natural pearls form when the mollusk secretes a substance called nacre around an irritant such as a piece of sand or a parasite that has invaded its shell. Cultured pearls are a product of human intervention. Technicians implant a piece of mantle tissue alone (common for freshwater cultured pearls) or with a mother-of-pearl shell bead (all saltwater) into a host mollusk. The mollusk covers the irritant with nacre, just like a natural pearl. Cultured pearls are raised in pearl farms – saltwater or freshwater operations where the mollusks are cleaned, protected from predators and eventually harvested. Thousands of years of pearl fishing have decimated the natural pearl beds, so cultured pearls account for the vast majority of pearl sales today. These cultured pearl birthstones come in a dazzling array of sizes, colors and shapes.

The lore of pearls

Along with pearls’ history there is the lore. Pearls have long been associated with purity, humility and innocence. So it may be said that the June birthstone meaning is “sweet simplicity.” As such, pearls were traditionally given as a wedding gift.

The pearl birthstone was also thought to have beneficial properties. In the ancient Sanskrit text the Atharvaveda, pearls were said to bestow long life and prosperity. In Asia, pearls were believed to help alleviate indigestion and hemorrhages. Some 19th century Arab physicians maintained that pearl powder improved eyesight, quieted nervous tremors and eased depression.

One of the most famous natural pearls is the 50.56 carat (ct) La Peregrina. About the size of a pigeon’s egg, the drop shaped pearl was discovered in the 1500s in the Gulf of Panama. It became a prized possession of European royalty. Richard Burton eventually gifted it to Elizabeth Taylor in 1969; Christie’s New York auctioned the Cartier necklace containing La Peregrina for $11.8 million in 2011.

WHERE ARE PEARLS FOUND?

Warm waters… clear skies… dramatic scenery – it sounds like a dream beach vacation, don’t you think? It’s also an accurate description of where you’ll often find these pearl birthstones.  Pearl-bearing mollusks fail to thrive in polluted waters, so pearl farms are usually located far from civilization – and often in breathtaking settings.

Saltwater cultured pearls are grown in many areas around the world. Akoya cultured pearl farms are primarily found in Japan and China, especially along the southern coasts of Guangdong and Guangxi provinces. South Sea cultured pearls are farmed from the northern coast of Australia through Indonesia to the southern coast of Southeast Asia, with large operations in the Philippines as well. The Gambier Islands and the Tuamotu Archipelago, both part of French Polynesia, are two locales where the rich black Tahitian pearls are cultured. China is the dominant source of freshwater cultured pearls.

Natural pearls have been found in the Arabian Gulf (Persian Gulf) for at least 5,000 years, while divers have been recovering the June birthstone from the Red Sea since 300 BCE. The Strait of Mannar has been providing pearls since 2000 BCE. Starting in the 16th century, during Spanish colonial rule, large quantities of pearls were recovered from the waters off Mexico, Central America and what is now Venezuela. Only small quantities of pearls are found in any of these areas today.

PEARL BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING

Pearls are 2.5 to 3.0 on the Mohs Scale of hardness, so they are a comparatively soft gem and require special care. Store them separately from other gemstones and metal jewelry to prevent scratching. Never store your pearl birthstones in a plastic bag — plastic can emit a chemical that will damage their surface. Always apply perfume, hair products and cosmetics before putting on your pearl jewelry. The best way to clean your June birthstone: Use a soft, damp cloth, ideally after each time the pearls are worn.

Check out our collection of jewelry on our website.
By clicking on the link you can learn how pearls are formed

 

 

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History of Costume Jewelry

Vintage gold circle brooch

The history of Costume Jewelry traces back to the 18th century

Europeans’ desire for fine jewelry with precious stones (namely diamonds) helped create the demand for costume jewelry. Needless to say you know most could not afford diamonds or fine jewelry. So enter a cost-effective alternative. French jeweler Georges Fréderic Strass,  in 1724, introduced a special leaded glass that, when cut with metal powder. This process mimicked the magnificent twinkle and shimmer of genuine diamonds. Inexpensive glass diamante jewelry was immediately popular with Parisian’s fashion set.

In 1892, Austrian jeweler Daniel Swarovski developed his own rhinestones that could perfectly resemble the shimmer and shine of colorful gemstones like emeralds, rubies, and sapphires by using high-lead-content glass with a foil backing. Swarovski also employed a revolutionary glass-cutting machine that could quickly and decisively facet glass with more brilliance than any expert artisan hands historically could. In turn, Swarovski could mass produce inexpensive “Swarovski Crystals.” We still buy and collect Swarovski pieces.

Coco Chanel popularized costume jewelry in the 20th Century

Historically, costume jewelry was designed to mirror expensive, heirloom jewelry. It was still looked down upon as jewelry for those who couldn’t afford the real thing. However, Coco Chanel is largely credited as being the primary influence behind the shift of fashionable tastes from delicate fine-jewels to colorful, statement costume jewelry. She designed and popularized large pieces that stood in beautiful contrast to her minimalist ready-to-wear designs: ropes of long pearls, large enamel bangles, and dazzling C&C logo earrings.

Costume jewelry in The Post World War II Retro Era

The world’s economy during and after World War II greatly influenced jewelry trends and markets. The war efforts need for platinum and alloy metals lead to many designers working with yellow or pink gold. And with fewer European jewelers able to actively produce jewelry during wartime, American jewelers’ business grew. Similarly, with European’s precious stones supply effectively dried up, jewelers turned to Brazil instead for colorful and large gemstones and also used synthetic stones as substitutes.

The Modern Period

In the 1950s, contemporary costume jewelry styles shifted again. The mid-century Modern era’s understated style was heavily influenced by the Bauhaus movement that married form and function, imbuing every design with an artistic air. Platinum also returned as the material of choice. Jewelry became lighter and incorporated more textures like engraved finishes and braided rope accents.

todayCostume Jewelry Today
Today costume jewelry (also referred to as fashion jewelry) has become a mainstay of any wardrobe. As you can imagine, affordable costume jewelry is needed to appeal to the rapidly changing tastes associated with the fast-fashion industry.

check out the About Costume Jewelry from Wikipedia. Browse our collection of vintage costume jewelry 

We’re adding more pieces regularly so if you are looking for a pristine piece, check back regularly. Check out our entire collection of vintage and contemporary jewelry.

 

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A history of clocks

A history of clocks

Here we review a history of clocks. Mechanical clocks, as we know them, were not invented until the 13th century. So how did people tell time before then?

First came the Sundial

Of course, we’ve all heard of the Sundial. It’s not known when the sundial was invented but they were certainly used in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Iraq. They are also mentioned in the Old Testament. Other ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Romans also used sundials. Over time sundials gradually became more accurate and they remained a common way of telling the time until the early 19th century. Yes, the 19th century.

Other methods for telling time

Around 1400 BCE the Egyptians invented the water clock. It consisted of two containers of water, one of which was higher than the other. Water flowed along a tube from the higher container to the lower at a steady rate. Rings were marked on the inside of the lower container and when the water level reached one it meant another hour had passed.

The Saxons used a candle clock. A candle was divided into segments and it took an hour for each segment to burn.

Mechanical clocks are invented

The mechanical clock was invented in the Middle Ages. We don’t know the person who invented the first one. Or,  when. But it has been said it was around the end of the 13th century. In 1309 a clock is recorded in a church in Italy. The oldest working clock in the world is in Salisbury Cathedral. It dates from 1386 and it has no dial. Instead it chimes the hours. (Our word clock comes from the Latin word for bell ‘clocca’)

The early clocks

Early clocks were normally in churches and they were very heavy because they were worked by weights. However about 1450 the coiled spring was invented and it made possible portable clocks. The first watches were made in 1510. In the 16th century some rich people had clocks in their homes but they were very expensive.

Early clocks were not very accurate but in 1657 Christiaan Huygens introduced the pendulum. Clocks became far more accurate though they were still set using sundials.

In the late 17th clocks with long cases were made. In 1876 a man named Henry Clay Work wrote a song called My Grandfathers Clock and in the early 20th century they became known as Grandfather clocks. Meanwhile the cuckoo clock was invented c. 1775. The stopwatch was invented in 1776 and the electric clock was invented in 1840. The quartz crystal clock was invented in 1929 and the atomic clock was invented in 1955.

In Britain each town had its own time and it was not standardized until the 1840s with the coming of the railways. International time zones including Greenwich Meantime were formed in 1884.

Then came watches

Watches were very bulky until c.1675 when the spiral hairspring was invented and modern pocket watches evolved. The electric watch was introduced in 1957 and the quartz crystal watch was introduced in 1967.

But sundials remained 

However sundials were used long after clocks were invented. In the Middle Ages and the 16th century, many people carried pocket sundials. Several pocket sundials were found on the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545. Shakespeare mentioned a sundial in his play As You Like It: ‘and then he drew a dial from his poke’. (A poke was a bag).

Even in the 18th century clocks were a luxury. In 1726 Lady Farringdon added clocks to Chichester Market Cross. At the time they were very expensive and it was a very generous act.

Vintage clocks are part of history

Vintage clocks are a part of history and as such each has a story to tell. See our collection of vintage clocks. Learn more about the history of timepieces

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How To Judge the Quality of Diamonds

Diamond Yellow Gold Engagement Ring

Diamond Quality Knowing diamond qualities is extremely important for you. Buying a diamond is one of the most expensive personal purchases you’ll make. Hence you, like many of us, may not know which diamond qualities to look for. As a result, you could end up with an inferior diamond at a high price.

Seems like you have a sense of what you want. But, you probably want one that sparkles. Is a nice size (or even bigger). In the shape you prefer. That’s how we look at it from our  perspective. (To see the shape options available check out our recent blog on the shape of diamonds )

In contrast to our priorities, experts tell us there are four important criteria used to evaluate diamond qualities.

The 4C’s of buying a diamond

Most noteworthy, there are four (4) diamond qualities that are considered standard. They include: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat weight. More about them.

Diamond quality:  Cut

Above all, you need to consider the cut of the diamond. It is the biggest factor in creating sparkle and fire. And without a high cut grade even a high-quality diamond  can appear dull and lifeless. A diamond cut poorly and too deep can face-up smaller than it actually is. Like the three bears: Not too shallow. Not too deep. Just right.Diamond Cut

To maximize your budget, you should choose the highest diamond cut grade your budget allows. We suggest a cut grade of Very Good or better.

Diamond quality: Color

After diamond cut, diamond color is the second most important characteristic to consider. The highest quality diamonds are colorless. Those of lower quality have noticeable color, such as pale yellow. Here is a guide to preferred color ratings. For your convenience, the GIA table these and other criteria are obtained from is shown at the end of this blog.

Colorless Diamonds

D-F Color Diamonds (Highest Quality)

  Near Colorless Diamonds

G-H Color Diamonds (Best Value)

I-J Color Diamonds (Great with Yellow Gold)

Diamond quality: Clarity

Diamond clarity is the assessment of small imperfections on the surface and internally. The surface flaws are called blemishes, and internal defects are known as inclusions. These tiny, natural blemishes and inclusions are microscopic and do not affect a diamond’s beauty in any way. Diamonds with the least and smallest inclusions receive the highest clarity grades.

Flawless (FL) Diamonds

Inclusions and blemishes aren’t visible on flawless diamonds, even under 10x magnification. Less than 1% of all diamonds are FL clarity. A flawless diamond is incredibly rare because it’s nearly impossible to find a diamond 100% free of inclusions. Six percent of customers buy FL diamonds.

Diamond quality: Carat

Diamond carat is often misunderstood and refers to a diamond’s weight, not necessarily its size. When comparing diamond carat sizes, take a diamond’s cut into consideration as well: a high-carat diamond with a poor cut grade may look smaller, often cut deeper, than a diamond with smaller carat weight and a better cut.

You can also check these out

We think you’ll agree all of the above make sense. To help make it even clearer for you,  just check out the GIA chart below. The chart  was created to help you judge diamond qualities. If you want to learn more about diamonds, including certification and appraisals, go to Gemological Institute of America. You’ll find a detailed discussion of diamonds.

The chart below was created by GIA so you can understand the ratings of diamonds. Hence, when you see a string of letters in the description of the diamond, just check out the chart below to figure out the meaning. Better yet, make sure you have an expert help you select the best diamond for your budget.

All  our jewelry categories are on our home page.

The collection of diamond earrings, click earring collection. 

To learn about the origin of earrings, click on history of earrings.

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The Shape of Diamonds

Diamond stones

When you select a diamond, you expect it to last a lifetime. That why the shape of diamonds is important; you want to love and cherish it forever. Know the choices you have when selecting the perfect one. While many shapes have been around for generations, but every so often a new shape appears. Here are the most popular classic and newer shape of diamonds.

Round Cut  Diamond Shapes

The round (brilliant) diamond is probably the oldest diamond shape, being around for centuries. Even today you’ll find it to be a very popular stone, with fire and brilliance that is dazzling. It’s the most popular shape for the new “halo” diamond engagement rings.

Oval Cut  Diamond Shapes

An oval diamond has beautiful brilliance that’s similar to a round diamond. Oval diamonds are also very popular as their length can accentuate long, slender fingers.

Pear Cut Shape of diamonds

This brilliant-cut diamond is also called a teardrop for its single point and rounded end. The unique look of the pear shape helps make it a popular choice for a variety of diamond jewelry, not just rings. If you choose an elongated pear shape, the length of the diamond creates a subtle slimming effect on the fingers, similar to the oval.

 Heart-Shaped  Diamond shapes

The heart is the ultimate symbol of love. The unique look of the heart-shaped diamond helps make it a distinctive not just for a ring, but almost any type of jewelry.   The Heart shape is available in several length-to-width ratios, creating a rounder or longer heart shape. The choice is yours.

Marquise-Cut  Shape of diamonds

The shape of a marquise diamond can maximize carat weight, giving you a much larger-looking diamond. This brilliant-cut diamond looks beautiful set with round or pear-shaped side stones, and the length of the marquise diamond makes fingers appear long and slender.

Radiant-Cut Diamond shapes 

Trimmed corners are the way to identify the radiant-cut diamond.  A radiant-cut looks equally beautiful set with either baguette or round side-diamonds. Radiant-cut diamonds can vary in their degree of rectangularity.  Have your jeweler show you different types so you can select the one you prefer. That’s a good idea with all the diamonds.

Cushion-Cut Diamond Shapes 

This unique shape has been popular for more than a century. Cushion-cut diamonds (also known as “pillow-cut” diamonds) have rounded corners and larger facets to increase their brilliance. These larger facets highlight the diamond’s clarity, so be sure to review the clarity plot on the diamond certificate. Cushion-cut diamonds are available in shapes ranging from square to rectangular.

Emerald-Cut/Asscher  Diamond shapes Shape of diamonds

What makes the emerald diamond shape different is its pavilion, which is cut with rectangular facets to create a unique optical appearance. Due to its larger, open table, this shape highlights the clarity of a diamond. Also, emerald-cut diamonds can vary greatly in how rectangular they are. If you’d prefer an emerald cut with a squared outline, look for an Asscher-cut diamond.

Princess Cut   

The Princess is a square cut diamond. Today, the Princess cut is as popular among brides as the round diamond.

Whichever diamond shape you choose, they will never lose their shape.

There’s a song from an old movie (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) that has a line, “pear shaped or square shaped, these rocks won’t lose their shape…diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” Indeed they are. If you’re in doubt about whether a diamond is right for you, check out the best source of information about diamonds and other gemstones at the Gemological Society of America.

Check out Regency’s collection of diamond rings. And, please sign up for our blog. You’ll become a more knowledgeable jewelry buyer or collector. Go to our home page and submit the sign up form.

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Why Do I Need a Jewelry Appraisal

Jewelry Appraisal

If you want to insure, write off, or sell your jewelry an appraisal is needed to confirm its value. To do that, you MUST use a certified appraisal professional. One who will examine and state what the jewelry is worth. The evaluation includes all gems as well as the metal settings.

Who should conduct the appraisal?

Never accept the appraisal of the seller of the jewelry except if it comes with certification by a professional, independent appraiser. Needless to say many sellers aren’t expert enough to give an accurate appraisal and may be using an older appraisal that is out of date. In addition, if the appraisal is old, market conditions may have changed, increasing or decreasing the value. So it may be a good idea to have it re-appraised.

What to look for in a jewelry appraisal?Jewelry Appraisal

  • An appraisal process that matches the ultimate purpose of the appraisal
  • A clear explanation of the grading process and measurements used
  • A definitive statement of value with seal or signature by an authorized appraiser
  • A statement of the appraisal purpose on the certificate
  • An open discussion in which you can ask any questions of the appraiser

Difference between jewelry appraisal and jewelry grading? 

 Jewelry appraisal assigns a monetary value to a piece of jewelry for a specific purpose. Diamond jewelry grading is the thorough evaluation of the jewel’s stone and its attributes: carat, cut, color and clarity.

Jewelry grading should be conducted by well-known and respected gemological laboratories like GIA and IGI who are certified professionals. The market assigns value to diamond jewelry according to their grading, so if you know your stone’s 4 C’s, you can get an estimated market value. Ultimately, a diamond grading report is the most transparent, accurate and objective tool you need to determine how the market values your diamond jewelry in a specific moment in time. 

Where can I get my jewelry appraisal and/or graded?

There are a few ways you can learn the real value of your jewelry. Perhaps your local jeweler is a qualified appraiser or they use one, that’s obviously a convenient choice. But make sure they make the correct appraisal type, such as for resale or insurance.

We recommend the first step in learning the value of your jewelry is to get a Grading Report by a reputable gemological lab such as GIA, IGI,  or AGS. You can present the details of their evaluation. Jewelry that does not include gemstones, just metal such as gold or platinum, their value is determined is by weight and position in the current market.

If you live in the Los Angeles Area

If you live in the Los Angeles area, Regency Jewelry can have your jewelry appraised using an independent, experienced certified appraiser. Just call us at 323.655.2573 to set up an appointment to bring your jewelry into the store to meet our appraiser.

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The Meaning of Birthstones

Meaning of birthstone

The twelve birthstones for each calendar month have a very special meaning. They are said to carry magical, mythical qualities. Learn how your birthstone can protect you. Bring you good luck. Love. Money. Health.  Find out the meaning of birthstones, including the meaning of YOUR birthstone? We include a link, for your convenience, to more information about your birthstone. You can also go to our home page to link to all our jewelry collection.

What is the origin of birthstones?

Christian scholars in the 5th century made the connection between the twelve gems in the Breastplate of Aaron, twelve months of the year, and twelve signs of the zodiac. They theorized that each gem was connected to a certain month or astrological alignment and that they would receive therapeutic benefits for wearing one during that time.

One stone for each month

To receive the full benefit, people took to wearing one stone for each month of the year and attributed a different meaning and value to them. Eventually this practice was modified so that a person would only wear the stone for the month they were born in (hence the term birthstone). There was a great amount of disagreement over which stone should represent a calendar month until 1912 when Sears published an “official” list of all the birthstones and the months they represented. Since then there have been a few modifications here and there but the list remains largely unchanged. Read below to learn the meaning of birthstones. Click on the link to learn more about each gemstone.

January: Birthstone is Garnet. Dark Red. Protection 

Garnet has long been associated with clergy and nobility. In ancient Egypt the pharaohs wore red garnet necklaces. In ancient Rome rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax on important documents. Explorers and travelers carried garnets on their journeys to ward off evil and light up the night. The gift of a garnet is a great way to let a loved one know you want them to be safe on all of their future journeys. (more about garnets.)

February: Birthstone is Amethyst. Violet. Wisdom

Because of its color the ancient Greeks associated amethyst with the wine god Bacchus, and believed that the gem could prevent drunkenness. Amethyst has also been thought to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. While we can’t promise that giving your friends an amethyst will result in a mythological alcohol tolerance, we do hope that it will inspire the wisdom not to overindulge. more about amethysts

March: Birthstone is Aquamarine. Blue, Cyan. Serenity.

Regardless of the shade of blue, these gems have evoked images of sea water and endless skies for generations. Many sailors would bring aquamarines on their voyages for a variety of calming purposes like getting a good night sleep by keeping it under their pillow at night or warding off poisons and bad food by keeping one in their pocket while eating. These benefits combine to make an aquamarine a great gift for new brides, moms, and especially your “eccentric” friend who is planning to sail around the world.  more about Aquamarine

April: Birthstone is Diamond (some say Quartz). Multiple colors. Love

April BirthstoneThe April birthstone, diamond, in addition to being a symbol of everlasting love, was once thought to bring courage. In Sanskrit, the diamond is called “vajra,” which also means lightning; in Hindu mythology, vajra was the weapon of Indra, the king of gods. You’ve probably heard the slogan many times that “a diamond is forever.” This is because of the stone’s symbol of deep, everlasting love, as well as the fact that it’s the hardest substance known on earth. more about diamonds

May: Birthstone is the Emerald. Dark Green. Hope

Emeralds are named after the Vulgar Latin words ‘esmaralda’ and ‘esmaraldus’ which translate roughly to a green gem. While that might be a little on the nose for some people, we think emerald is a great name for this gem because of its beautiful green color that inspires thoughts of springtime and renewal. This association makes emeralds a great gift for someone who needs a reminder that winter doesn’t last forever (even in the Northeast!) or is starting a new chapter in their life. Legends have said that placing an emerald under your tongue gives you the ability to foresee the future and protects against evil spells and can cure disease. more about emeralds.

June: Birthstones June is pearl, alexandrite and moonstone. 

June’s birthstones range from opalescent pearl, moonstone and the rare color-changing alexandrite—one of the most valuable gems on earth. In many cultures, pearls symbolize purity and innocence, which is why it’s tradition for a bride to wear pearls on her wedding day.  Associated with concentration and learning, alexandrite is believed to strengthen intuition, aid creativity and inspire imagination—bringing good omens to anyone who wears it.  Moonstone acts as the ultimate fertility crystal by sparking passion in new lovers and reuniting old ones. Also encourages sound sleep and beneficial dreams. more about pearls

July: Birthstone is the Ruby. Red. Vitality

 The Ruby’s color of “blood” led to an association with vitality and physical strength for the ruby. Ancient Hindus believed that those who offered rubies to the god Krishna would be emperors in a future life. People in India and Burma have also believed that rubies offered safety and peace, and medieval Europeans thought that these gems guaranteed health, wealth, wisdom, and success in love. Today, a ruby makes a great gift for someone who could use a reminder that they are full of energy and life and have a lot to offer the world around them.  More about the Ruby

August: Birthstone is the Peridot. Olive Green. Beauty

Peridot is always a yellow-green and the darker a specimen, the more valuable it is. The Egyptians thought that Peridot protected against nightmares and brought the wearer confidence, good luck and health. In fact, it’s believed that some of Cleopatra’s famous emeralds were actually Peridot. It is sometimes called the evening emerald for its light green color. When set in gold, this gem was said to protect the wearer from nightmares. more about peridot

September: Birthstone is the Sapphire. Blue. Fidelity, Truth

The meaning of birthstonesBlue has long been considered the color of fidelity. The magnificent and holy Sapphire, in all its celestial hues, is a stone of wisdom and royalty, of prophecy and Divine favor. It is forever associated with sacred things and considered the gem of gems, a jewel steeped in the history and lore of nearly every religion. Many sources list that sapphires are believed to symbolize wisdom, virtue, good fortune, and holiness for royals. In an engagement ring, a sapphire means faithfulness and sincerity, too. more about sapphire

October: Birthstone is the Opal. Multi-colored. Faithfulness, confidence.

October birthstoneOpals can exhibit many different colors within a single stone.That’s why it believed to possess supernatural powers. In ancient Rome, this gem symbolized love and hope. The ancient Greeks believed opals gave their owners the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Europeans have long considered the gem a symbol of hope, purity, and truth.  Once, it was thought to have the power to preserve the life. Others say necklaces with opals set in them were worn to repel evil and to protect eyesight. more about opals

November: Birthstone is the Citrine or Golden Topaz. Both: love, vitality, energy, prosperity

The Topaz, symbolizes love and affection. It is believed to give the wearer increased strength and intellect. The Citrine is known as “healing quartz,” as legend has it that citrine promotes vitality and energy for wearers it. According to  Chinese feng shui philosophy, citrine creates wealth and abundance. Citrine is thought to offer the same benefits as topaz, including the ability to calm, heal, and encourage prosperity. Citrine, is often confused with golden topaz. More about citrine More about Golden Topaz

December: 3 birthstones: Turquoise, Zircon, Tanzanite.

December birthdays have claim to three gemstones; Zircon, Tanzanite and Turquoise. Each of these gemstones carries a unique blue tone.  Zircon can be found in a variety of colors, but blue is the overwhelming favorite. 

The turquoise  December birthstone

Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones and its popularity has spanned the globe for centuries. It graced the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs and adorned the ceremonial dress of early Native Americans. This beautiful robin’s egg blue gemstone has been attributed with healing powers, promoting the wearer’s status and wealth, protecting from evil and bringing good luck.

The ZirconDecember birthstone

In the Middle Ages, Zircon was said to aid in resting, bring prosperity and promote honor and wisdom in its owner. Today, the most popular colors of Zircon are the vivid blue and bright Caribbean Sea colors.

DeThe Tanzanite

Tanzanite possesses an exotic velvety blue with a rich overtone of purple, a color unlike any other. It brings wisdom, truth, dignity and spiritual mastery. A stone of judgment and long life, it promotes introspection and can result in profound wisdom when used well. more about turquoise    

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How Do Art Deco and Art Nouveau Differ

Many of us wonder “How do Art Deco and Art Nouveau differ?”  Often when people, even you and me,  look at vintage art, architecture, jewelry or glassware they’re not sure how to tell them apart. Both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco movements emerged as reactions to major world events: the Industrial Revolution and World War I, respectively. While both embraced modernist elements, they’re easy to distinguish if you know what to look for.

Art Nouveau  (it means “new art,” but you probably figured that out) reigned from roughly 1880 until just before World War I. Art Nouveau embraced Europe’s new industrial esthetic rather than challenging it.

Features include naturalistic but stylized forms, often combined with more geometric shapes. In particular arcs, parabolas, and semicircles (think of the paintings of Gustav Klimt, or the arches of the Eiffel Tower).  Natural forms have been brought in that had often been overlooked. These include forms like insects, weeds, even mythical faeries, as evidenced by Lalique jewelry or Tiffany lamps.

Art Deco  on the other hand, emerged after World War I. In fact, the deprivations of the Great War years gave way to a whole new opulence and extravagance that defined the Jazz Age and the Art Deco aesthetic.

The movement, prevalent from the 1920s until roughly the start of World War II, took its name from the 1925 Exposition Internationales des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (say that ten times, fast), held in France and is characterized by streamlined and geometric shapes. It also utilized modern materials like chrome, stainless steel, and inlaid wood.

If Art Deco dabbled with natural materials, they tended to be graphic or textural, like zebra skin or jagged fern leaves. As a result, Deco featured bold shapes like sunbursts and zigzags and broad curves. In fact, if you check out the spire of the Chrysler Building, the hotels of Miami’s South Beach, or the “coffin nose” oif a 1935 Cord Model 810, you’ll be staring at the very definition of Deco.

The article above was reprinted from the mental_floss book “What’s the Difference?” with permission.

How do Art Deco and Art Nouveau differ: A discussion

How do Art Deco and Art Nouveau differ

 Art Deco

How do Art Deco and Art Nouveau differ

 Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau. In this example of a wallpaper pattern by English artist Walter Crane, you see several elements considered central to Art Nouveau, including an emphasis on curving natural forms, echoes of things like leaves and birds and flowing lines that connect everything.

Art Nouveau emphasizes long lines and whiplash curves, forms in which lines bend and veer back on themselves. As you might guess by this description, line is more important than color, which was sometimes be muted. In Art Nouveau, all elements seem to connect organically together. There’s an emphasis on natural materials like wood and natural colors like muted greens, browns and deep reds

Of course, you don’t have to go outdoors if you’re looking for Deco. Furniture from the period – like the black leather and chrome chaise lounge by Le Corbusier or the Barcelona chair by Bauhaus giant Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – is still coveted by design aficionados and can be found in finer hotel lobbies everywhere.

Art Deco. In this image of decoration at the entrance to the Chrysler Building, a famous Art Deco skyscraper in New York, you can see the emphasis on industrial materials and geometry. Everything is angles, and several areas include repeated chevrons and zigzags. Art Deco celebrates technology (think radios, airplanes and automobiles) and progress in developments like electricity. It’s the style used on skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center in New York City.

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Fine Jewelry is a Good Investment

fine jewelry

Unlike stocks, bonds, gold bullion, fine jewelry is a different kind of investment. It’s a good investment in yourself.  Another description might be fine jewelry is an emotional investment.

Fine Jewelry makes a statement about who and what you are. What you value. And  how you present yourself to the world. How you feel about yourself.

Like a custom hat, suit or coat. All designed to show who you are.

Is fine jewelry a good investmentThe same with fine jewelry (fine wrist watches too). It expresses who you are and how you express yourself. Unlike over-the-counter costume jewelry it won’t degrade or crumble over time (assuming it is taken care of properly). It’s something wonderful you can give your cherished loved ones as an heirloom to keep in the family. Like a father passing his wrist watch on to his son—as his father did to him.

A gift to be treasured. Remember the saying, “good things come in small packages”? It was referring to jewelry gifts. Giving the person you care about the gift of a special piece of jewelry is something they will appreciate, value and treasure forever. If it’s a vintage piece with a history of the past, it’s even more special.

It will never go out of style. When you purchase a unique piece of jewelry, crafted by an artist, it will never go out of style. No matter what. When it’s new, it’s contemporary. As it ages, it’s vintage. Gets even older, it’s antique. All the designations that keep your jewelry in vogue and you in style. Beautiful jewelry offer longevity as much as they offer beauty.

It’s all about making a statement about you! If you’re buying jewelry for yourself, you want to start with the essentials; also known as key pieces. These are versatile pieces that are not too flashy or overwhelming. But there should be something special and unique about each. An element that makes a statement about you. Begin with a great pair of earrings, a necklace, a bracelet or a ring. If you want to learn more about gemstones overall or your birthstone, check out the encyclopedia of gems.

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Necklace display