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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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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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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