Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
When one thinks of topaz, a warm honey color comes to mind, but the gemstone also occurs in many colors, including red, blue, violet and green.
Topaz is a very durable and hard gemstone. It is rated 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness and is quite resistant to scratching. It is the hardest silicate mineral and one of the hardest minerals in nature.
Topaz is a durable gemstone that's resistant to scratching. It's rated 8 on the Mohs scale (compared to diamond, the hardest gemstone, at 10). The name of the gemstone is thought by some to have come from an island Topazos, which is found in the Red Sea, and was an early source for this gemstone. Others believe that it comes from the Sanskrit word "topas" meaning "fire".
Topaz stones are mentioned in the Old Testament, but many scholars believe that this reference of Topaz in the bible was actually peridot. Many scientists believe that real topaz were yellow crystals discovered in the early 1700s in Germany.
The main sources of mining today of Topaz are Brazil, Sri Lanka, Russia, Australia, Africa, Mexico and Pakistan. When purchasing topaz stones, particularly the yellow variety, the buyer must be prepared. Many of the stones sold as topaz (particularly from overseas) are actually the lesser valued citrine stones.
In natural form, topaz crystals can reach the immense size of several hundred pounds. Because of thier high luster, multi faceted crystals, and nice colors, Topaz can make very attractive mineral specimens.
The largest faceted Topaz specimen ever found was a whopping 31,000 carat stone from Brazil named El Dorado. The rough crystal weighed an astonishing 37 kg, when discovered in 1984, and after cutting and polishing the final weight was only 6.2 kg.
Other large stones include a rare, perfect blue gemstone which was discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1965. It weighed 100 kilograms and a 137 pound crystal was found in Norway in 1901 that was two feet long.
Most colors of topaz are relatively common, and quite affordable, some colors like red and pink are quite rare and much sought after, so their price is much higher.
As with other gemstones, Topaz has mystical properties associated with it. It has long been attributed with gentleness, integrity and fidelity and it thought to bring wearers love, wealth and protection. In physical terms, topaz is thought to aid with poor appetite, gout, blood disorders, hemorrhages, and diseases of the endocrine system.
Caring for topaz is relatively easy. Warm soapy water and a soft brush will usually keep it in good condition. Because it is sensitive to sudden temperature changes, ultrasonic and steam cleaners should be avoided. Bright light can cause the stone to fade, so it should be carefully stored when not being used.
Here is a lovely Georgian poem which talks about the gemstone Topaz:
Who first comes to this world below
In dreary November’s fog and snow
Should prize the topaz amber hue
Emblem of friends and lovers true.
Mrs. Obama wears a vibrant Jason Wu red dress and a statement necklace like few others that I have seen. And make a statement it does! I'm still trying to find details on the designer of this piece. Hopefully, more details to come about this necklace later. The color of the dress and contrast with the necklace makes this a perfect choice for a magazine which will come out in December.
Photo credit: Glamour MagazineThe first lady will also be receiving a special recognition award from Glamour for her commitment to mentoring young women.
This issue of the magazine will also launch the new Glamour column by Katie Couric, who also interviewed Mrs. Obama. Glamour has more photos from the upcoming magazine and some details of the Couric interview as well. You can read more about the First Lady's appearance on Glamour's cover here. The woman of the year issue will hit the newstands next week.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The hoard consists of weapons and helmet decorations, coins and Christian crosses. More than 1500 pieces, with hundreds still embedded in blocks of soil make this a really historical find. There were 5 kilograms of gold, and 2.5 kilograms of silver. Some archeologists believe that the find may the swag from a spectacularly successful raiding party of warlike Mercians, from some time around AD700.
This fabulous collection is worth at least $1.6 million, and he'll get to share the proceeds of the sale of it with the owner of the land.
Here is a YouTube video which discusses the find, its possible history and the man who discovered it.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
This wonderful display has exhibits of over 300 gems, as well as precious stones, semi-precious stones and other mineral artifacts and displays.
Viewers can "explore the natural beauty of Earth’s gems and witness their magical transformation from rough specimens, to stunning stones, to spectacular jewelry" in The Field Museum’s newly renovated hall. On display are exquisite rare jewels from around the world, as well as never-before-seen creations from top designers.
One of my favorite displays is the fabulous engraved diamond pin with a portrait of King Wiilliam III of the Netherlands, shown in the photo here. The diamond is mounted on a gold stick pin and features a 2.1 carat diamond by Tiffany & Co. The pin was first displayed at the Paris Exposition in 1878 and was purchased by Tiffany. it is now part of the original gem collection in Granger Hall.
The exhibit is a permanent display, so be sure to include a visit in your next trip to Chicago. For those that can't attend, the Field Museum has a highlights area on their site.
This YouTube Video also has a video walk around of the Grainger Hall but I think this may have been before the reopening of the hall. The video is a bit dark and shaky, but will give an idea of the scope of the exhibit.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
A brushed finish is a type of metal finish which has no gloss at all. The process involved gives the finished product a textured finish which is much less reflective than a normal metal finish.
This finish is produced by soft scratch-brushing a polished metal surface so that it produces a soft sheen. The finish is also known as a Satin finish, a Butler finish, or a scratch brush finish.
Many designers of vintage jewelry used the brushed finish, but one of the most well known and, in my opinion, one of the best manufacturers of this technique is Trifari. Their brushed goldtone and silvertone finishes, especially on their brooches, are superb with fantastic detail.
Here are some examples of this type of finish on vintage jewelry pieces. (click the pictures to open for greater detail.)
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
- The dates of operation of the company are 1914 to the present day.
- The founder of the company emigrated from Austria in 1885
- Design Characteristics: use of Swarovski rhinestones and custom color rhinestones
- Used aeronautical glue in their designs
- Switched to the use of sterling silver in the war time years
- Many designs were rhodium plated
- Famous for Christmas tree designs
- Many whimsical designs from the 1940s are very collectible today
Here are some pictures of my designs:
I am considered a high end designer and very collectible today. For more information and the answer to today's riddle, you can go to this designer page of the resource library on my website Vintage Jewelry Lane. (answer is also shown reading backwards at the bottom of this blog post.)
I'll be doing more of these riddles over the next weeks and months. Have fun with the series. Answer: (read it backwards) grebnesiE
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Nearly 800 exquisite objects, including some of the world’s most stunning gemstones, tell the story of our fascination with the beauty and power of this King of Gemstones - the diamond. The exhibit will explore all aspects of this extraordinary mineral, from its geological origins, to its place in history, art, and adornment, and finally to its uses in modern technology and research.
Photo credit: C. Philip Hersey Photographer, Ltd
Photo credit Roderick Mickens © American Museum of Natural HistoryQuestion Mark Necklace - by Boucheron who designed a series of floral “question mark” necklaces. In this 1890 question-mark necklace, a semi-rigid, pavé-set ornament forms a graceful question mark that is designed to sweep around the wearer’s throat and down to the low-cut neckline of a formal evening gown.
Photo credit Katharina Faerber
Monday, October 19, 2009
Scorpios have very magnetic and dynamic personalities. They are generally well liked and can have a soothing affect on those around them. People born under this star sign tend to be very creative and inventive and excel in professional careers such as medicine chemistry and physics. On the negative side, they can be jealous and resentful, somewhat compulsive and obsessive, as well as being secretive and obstinate.
Thinking about buying jewelry for your Scorpio friend and don't know where to start? Let's examine some of these zodiac facts for a bit of inspiration.
- Their special color dark red
- Their lucky numbers are 3 and 5
- The gemstones associated with this birth sign are topaz and opals
- Scorpios love all types of flowers, including geraniums, black-eyed Susans, gardenias and many other types.
- Their best location is near the water
Since their lucky numbers are three and five, how about choosing a multi strand necklace for them with this number of rows of beads? My Carolina Collections Jewelry Shop has a lovely range of 3 and 5 strand beaded necklaces.
How about this goldtone Scorpio bracelet? It is a clamper style and features a cute scorpion charm dangle and is available at the give away price of $4.99 from Vintage Jewelry Mall.
Dark Red? That is an easy one. All of my stores have a lovely range of red jewelry to choose from. How about this blood red rhinestone brooch that incorporates both their color and their love of flowers. It's available on Vintage Jewelry Lane for only $18.99
Since Scorpios love to be near the water, they would probably appreciate any piece of jewelry with a nautical theme.Finally, here is a Georgian poem which depicts the Scorpio personality well:
Who keeps an arrow in his bow,
And if you prod, he lets it go?
A fervent friend,
a subtle foe-Scorpio!
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Fabulous and ornate brooch with a female figure, about 1903 byRené Lalique, French, 1860–1945. This one is made from gold, enamel, and diamonds.
One of my favorites is this beautiful necklace with a female head and a sphinx, about 1900 by Emmanuel-Jules- Joseph Descomps (French, 1872–1948). It is made of gold, enamel, diamond, and pearls.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Memory wrap bracelets often use glass beads and depending on the length of the wire used, can be quite a fashion statement when worn. Some of them end up several inches wide, depending on your wrist size.
My online stores all have glass memory wire bracelets for sale. The one featured here is from my Vintage Jewelry Lane shop and consists of a fabulous combination of cloisonné enamel and faceted glass beads. The price is $22.99, and it is just stunning in both color and design. I don't normally think of burgundy and red matching well together, but on this bracelet, the combination just works for me.
Feeling creative? Why not try your hand at making one of these? Head off to Michael's, get some memory wire, and glass beads and use your imagination. You'll end up with a lovely hand made creation.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
highlight of Jewels: The New York Sale to be held on October 21, 2009. The diamond is valued between $3-5 million and will be among the many highly-anticipated jewels offered at
auction in the coming Fall season.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Gallery is currently running an exhibition called Signs of Life 2oo9. The exhibit opened on October 7 and will run until October 28. It is a contemporary jewelry art show and companion jewelry art catalog/literary journal.
The artist list for the exhibition includes Diane Falkenhagen, Aliyah Gold, Laurie J. Hall, Julia Harrison, Thomas Hill, Trudee Hill, Rika Mouw, Gail Rappa, and Sarah Wilbanks. Writers include Erica Bauermeister, Paul Dorpat, Sarah Fenske, Waverly Fitzgerald, Samuel Green, Stephanie Kallos, John Olson, Jean Sherrard, and Janet Yoder.
The catalog/literary journal pairs these jewelry artists with nine writers in a unique publication that celebrates both literature and jewelry art.Facèré has a page of their website devoted to the exhibition which also has pieces for sale. The piece featured here seems to go well with the name of the exhibit - Signs of life. It is called "Swallowtail" and is a brooch by Julia Harrison in burned maple, nickel, epoxy and wax. Price is $882. 00
If you would like to see the other contemporay pieces in the exhibit, please visit the Facèré website.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
My Fair Lady photo courtesy of Ruby Lane seller The Vintage Princess
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Figures are then drawn on the scored surfaces. The whole item is then blued to produce a black background by a total oxidation of the surfaces which are not damasked. A delicate and light process of chipping gives a lovely sheen to the object. Finally, the piece is mounted to give the final object.
Damascene jewelry is one of the specialites of my main website Vintage Jewelry Lane. I have a very large range of it, at competitive prices. There are several styles of damascene jewelry, most notably Tourist damascene, Amita damascene, and Reed and Barton Damascene. Each type has quite a different look to it.
I've written a reference article with lots of information on damascene jewelry, and photos to explain each style. You can find the damascene article here.
Here are some photos of pieces that I currently have for sale. You can click the pics to get more details. Prices range from $15.99 to $49.99 for the pieces featured here. Other styles start at $11.99. I have many more styles on my sites - Vintage Jewelry Lane.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Their contest for October is called "That Really Bugs Me," which should really suit designs that will be appropriate for Halloween, which is just around the corner.
The accept photographic entries now, and the deadline for submissions is October 17. You can view the contest entries on the Polymer Clay Express website. I'll post some of the winning designs when they are announced next month.
If you love halloween jewelry but aren't in the mood for polymer clay, here are a few cute rhinestone Halloween jewelry ideas to put you in a spooky mood. They are available from my Carolina Collections Vintage Jewelry store on ebay. Prices start at $10.25.