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Posts in Jewelry

A Flapper’s Ingenuity & Elegance

by on July 1st, 2016

Rarely does combining one generation’s design with another’s meet with success, but in the 1920s, women claimed a new right to define their own style with boldness and genuine audacity, sometimes to fantastic effect.

Pictured here, is an example of the combination of periods, assembled to produce an utterly new jewel that still respects, but re-creates a collector’s prize possession.

Subtly and almost, impossibly graduated colors and sizes of natural pearls move and suspend an equally rare and carefully grouped collection of natural-colored diamonds. Honey and cinnamon brown diamonds find company with iridescent brownish pearls descending into little cascades of pink gulf and conch pearls. Nearly invisible settings of old mine diamonds framed by perfect milgrains and piercings make up the Beaux Arts/Nouveau pendant that is the original long chain of the Edwardian aristocrat, and then the magic happens… The long chain, split at the back, becomes the suspension of the Art Deco colored diamond and black pearl dress clip attached.

Worn with tassels to the diving back or modest front of the flapper’s dress, the complement is stunning in it’s integrity. Every delicate quality of the original pendant is echoed in the perfection and artistry of the Asscher family cuts of kite and square yellow diamonds. The hints of peacock iridescence in the chosen black of the Deco pearls with now brilliant-cut diamonds perfectly paved in geometric settings joins seamlessly to fit the costume of the liberated and striking owner.

Old jewels carry far more than their gems alone. The history and lives of the time always linger, waiting to come back to life, to tell their story together with that of each owner: Worth times worth.

Art Deco Multicolored Diamond & Natural Pearl Necklace with Front & Back Pendant

Art Deco Multicolored Diamond & Natural Pearl Necklace with Front & Back Pendant

An Extraordinary Demi-Parure from the 1860s

by on April 16th, 2016

Time capsules are meant to be rare and wonderful discoveries. To find them in the same condition as when they were first worn is to be transported back (in this case, to the time of the Civil War).

This garnet ‘parure’- set of jewels- is completed by its original French velvet fitted box. There are no repairs and none needed. The gold setting and central natural pearls are rarities reserved for the extraordinary Bohemian work on display here.

1860-70 in its glory.

demi-parure

A Jewel’s Meaning: Less Price Point than Story

by on February 7th, 2016

There’s a lot of reasons to give a present and it seems like a new one every day; the culture of giving has grown with the addition of new cultures to the US. Always, the greatest quality of any of these gifts though, is meaning.

Rarity, beauty, craftsmanship and history are a part of the message, but the heart of it, is the heart that gives it. Picking something rare and appealing to someone you know well, carries that care forever. Suddenly, a thing becomes beautiful in a new way, unique to its moment and imbued with qualities of another dimension of thought and memory.

This is why, carefully chosen, a relatively inexpensive engagement ring can be valued as highly as the Hope Diamond: it’s just a matter of meaning.

1920s Old Mine Cut Diamond Princess Ring, $2,200

1920s Old Mine Diamond Princess Ring, $2,200

The 12.10ct Intense Yellow Old Miner

by on December 11th, 2015

Gypsy and $400,000 may sound at odds, but what this ring is… is a Bohemian Rhapsody.

An antique diamond of rare size smoldering a wonderful yellow that is also elegant and wearable! The sort of jewel that completes a festival of cloth, color and bangle or is punctuation to a simple black dress. Itself, a treasure that never screams diamond, but does speak volumes about style and taste: Never cheap, always there and always fun.

12.10-carat-fancy-intense-yellow-diamond-ring-newsletter

A Flock of Jeweled Birds

by on December 11th, 2015

victorian-diamond-swallow-pins-box1

They are swallows by the curving swoop of the wing and forked tails; the fighter pilots of the insect eaters. Here, in the iPhone photo from the day I bought them from Argentina, they move whether upside down or tumbling just as the real bird does in flight, but with the added benefit of the tiny spring fitted into a barrel on the pin, to let the diamonds do their stuff and to “tremble” with every step: Mounted “en tremblant”.

At the end of the Beaux Arts period, maybe 1895, these were made by a Parisian of the first order when it came to skills. The upside down bird shows the extraordinary piercing work known as “azuring”…. daylighting, where wonderful geometric patterns give a delicacy that allows cleaning but maintains the strength of the piece.

Done first by an engraver to mark the line, next by the saw piercer who shaped the cuts and finally by the “thrummer,” who threaded cotton cording charged with diamantine powders through the holes and stroked the string up and down the cavities until they were mirror polished- even where no one would ever see after the diamond surface was pavéd.

The flock together is never the same. They tremble and turn; are removed and re-grouped and always show a style and grace marking one of the great periods in truly, high jewelry making.

victorian-diamond-swallow-pins-news

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Verdura’s Theodora Cuff Bracelet, Now at Betteridge

by on October 28th, 2014

verdura-coco-chanelLegendary jeweler Verdura celebrates its 75 years of style with the introduction of the rare, limited edition “Theodora” cuff. The “Theodora” motif on the cuff marks the beginning of Verdura’s career as a jewelry designer and his earliest collaboration with Coco Chanel. In 1930, Verdura, with Chanel as his muse, shattered the status quo in 20th century jewelry design. The revolution they began broke from the proliferation of platinum and diamond jewelry whose popularity was verging on monotony.

Inspired by the Byzantine mosaic of Empress Theodora at the Italian Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Verdura and Chanel set out to break the rules of popular style. For the first time in the 20th Century, gemstones were pressed into yellow gold in such splendid contradiction to one another: the primary colors of precious rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds were electrified into new life beside the vivid half-hues of semi-precious amethysts, peridots and tourmalines. It was an iconoclast departure. At the time, British Vogue observed the “unusual results and a number of colour harmonies hitherto unknown to jewellery.”

The first foray into this new realm of color was a pair of Byzantine-inspired brooches in loosely cruciform patterns, called the Theodora and Ravenna brooches. These two brooches became harbingers of change, precursors to the full exploration of twentieth century Byzantine style. They were the inspiration for the iconic Maltese Cross cuffs created by the Duke of Verdura for his friend Coco Chanel in the early 1930’s. These brooches were eventually given to Diana Vreeland, a friend and client of Chanel. She further popularized them by wearing them in unusual ways, notably on her turbans and hats. These were a signature of Ms. Vreeland throughout her life.

verdura-theodora-cuff-bracelet

An Old Stuffing Spoon

by on May 20th, 2014

terry-spoon
Really good silver takes many forms but it always shares a few important traits, as this old stuffing spoon shows.

All the surfaces here, rustic from the heavy hammer blows, are smooth to the hand. The haft of the spoon is heavily beaten back from both sides, to thicken and give the strength of an “I Beam”: It wont bend, or at least will snap back, when used hard.

It is almost 8 troy ounces of three individually made and reinforced sections: It has the weight to last through hundreds of years of service.

Finally, it is signed by the workmen who were pleased with their work and proud of their shop. Great silversmiths make things to be used and are willing to stake their names that it will last doing so.

One of my first projects in the shop, for a dear friend

One of my first projects in the shop, for a dear friend

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Fancy-Cut Diamonds: For a Sophisticated & Unique Look

by on November 17th, 2013

Asscher-Cut Diamond Ring

3.40ct Asscher-Cut Diamond Ring with Pavé Surround

Asscher, cushion, and radiant are just a few of the diamond cuts that come to mind when I think about diamonds that are truly exceptional and stunningly beautiful. They seem to intrigue the eye and compliment the wearer differently than a round stone. These diamond shapes have the ability to show off striking parallel step-cut lines, smooth pillow shaped corners, or brilliant fire radiating from many angles of the stone.

The round brilliant, while being the most popular diamond cut, will always air to the sense of classicism and pay homage to earlier circular diamond cuts. Without a doubt, the round will forever be revered. On the other hand, Fancy-shaped cuts are derived from advancements in diamond cutting techniques and a desire for uniqueness.

When a rough diamond is formed by Mother Nature, it is not always ideal for the stone to be cut into a round. Why? Perhaps the shape of the crystal is better suited for another shape or the crystal’s potential depth of color could be showcased if faceted to highlight a fancy colored diamond. Nevertheless, master diamond cutters have to analyze the rough material and take into consideration shape when envisioning the potential beauty for a stone.

If you find yourself dreaming of something special and sophisticated, consider a Fancy-cut diamond from Betteridge: you might just fall in love.

Cushion-Cut Diamond Ring

5.14ct Cushion-Cut Diamond Ring with Split Shank

Diamond Heart Pendant, Circa 1895

by on February 14th, 2013

victorian-heart-pendant-brooch

At the end of the 19th century, platinum was for the first time being used to set diamonds, though still with the historically used gold backing.

Seen from behind, the pendant’s setting is almost entirely pierced and filed away. It creates the appearance of a honeycomb in gold and platinum whose engineering would make Buckminister Fuller proud. Perfect strength with a minimum of material, though a maximum of labor.

After the sawing and filing, cotton string and pith wood charged with fine abrasive powders and carried by beeswax were “thrummed” to mirror polish the cutaways. The process creates the perfect seats for each small diamond.

From the back just as much as the front, this is perfection seldom seen.

Bvlgari’s B.Zero1: Where Jewelry Meets Wearable Art

by on October 31st, 2012

Bulgari ‘Monete’ Antique Silver Coin Pendant Necklace

Growing up in the jewelry industry I have been exposed to some incredible pieces of fine jewelry- from vintage diamond brooches and exquisite line bracelets to large diamond drops. Although these pieces are wonderful, they are not always wearable for everyday enjoyment.

This is where the Bvlgari B.Zero1 collection comes into play. Whether you favor your little black dress or jeans and a simple blouse, these designs will be sure to complement your outfit. The Bvlgari B.Zero1 collection can be worn to accent the ears, neck, wrist, and hands with comfort and clean intriguing designs. Pendants, hoop earrings, cuff bracelets, and banded rings are a few elements of the collection.

Bvlgari’s use of 18-karat pink, yellow, and white gold with diamonds and colored gemstones makes for a very wearable new take on classic materials. But what if you want something new and different? Maybe you want a beautiful piece of gold that is complemented by colored ceramic, or even exquisite marble in blue, green, or brown. Well this collection does just that.

The versatility of the collection makes it a wonderful addition to any wardrobe, and the attention to detail and comfort is sure to stand out wherever you are enjoying them. You will find these pieces not only accent your wardrobe but also your lifestyle.

Bulgari’s B.Zero1 Marble Rings