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Posts in Jewelry

Whimsy as High Art

by on August 11th, 2012

Occasionally, the great Parisian jewelers all stepped back from classically opulent jewelry making to design something artistic and amusing, while still maintaining unsurpassed quality in material and design.

By Van Cleef & Arpels, this jewel of a British bulldog is a representational tour de force. With enameled wingtip collar and chained diamond monocle, not only is all England invoked, but Winston Churchill in particular. Tenacity and single-minded purpose dressed as a gentleman…

I’ve spent much of my life on the hunt for wonderful and unique jewelry pieces. My favorite jewelry has meaning- in this case, the historic allure of one of the most important men, and greatest characters, of modern times.

Van Cleef & Arpels 18k Gold, Enamel & Diamond Bulldog Pin

The Value of History

by on August 9th, 2012

This antique snuff box or bonbonnière is hand-engraved and engine-turned below multiple layers of colored glass (a technique Faberge becomes famous for copying an hundred years later). Trapped within the early 19th century Parisian enamel is the golden inscription, “DON DE L’EMPEREUR” (“A Gift of the Emperor”)- for you know who…

A Fine, Napoleon Snuff Box

Exploring Mark Davis’ Workshop

by on May 1st, 2012

Visiting Mark Davis’ workshop is an experience that can only be described as heavenly. Housed in an old rope factory building on the water in Brooklyn, stark white walls give way to the most glorious sight imaginable- a wall of color-coded bakelite!

Due to the vintage nature of the material, Mark has taken to buying it up whenever a “new” stockpile becomes available. Whether it be a full uncut, bakelite tube, or a collection of well-worn bangles, he has managed to amass quite a lovely hoard over the years. All in various stages of production, one can witness the transformation from ordinary to extraordinarily fabulous as the time-consuming process of sanding and polishing progresses.

Years of exposure to the elements oxidizes outer layers of the bakelite and causes it to change color. A brown piece might actually turn out to be blue after Mark has had his way with it. Who knew bakelite was so multifaceted? Mark did!

Before Mark Davis came onto the scene, bakelite had been largely forgotten. Now, many try to imitate his unique style using resin and other colorful materials. Only bakelite however is heat-resistant, impervious to moisture and shatterproof- it’s actually so durable that it was used for some bomb-casings during World War II.

After seeing the amount of work that goes into the making of each and every piece bearing his stamp, one cannot help but fall madly in love with Mark’s jewels. While this material might no longer be in vogue militarily-speaking, Mark Davis’ bakelite beauties always hold the top three spots on my jewelry wishlists.

Introducing the Betteridge Diamond Collection

by on April 10th, 2012


Last week, we launched a new section on our website devoted to the Betteridge Diamond Collection.

We have photographed each and every diamond, pairing it accurately with its GIA certificate on the site. Better yet, the diamonds are available for viewing in our stores.

Many of these diamonds offer truly exceptional value. Over the years, we have done our best to buy diamonds opportunistically, helping to ensure favorable pricing for our customers.

There is no better way to showcase a spectacular diamond than in an elegant, handcrafted setting. You can see a few of our favorite designs in our engagement ring guide.

We hope that you enjoy the newest addition to Betteridge.com, and please let us know if you have any suggestions to improve it.

Spring Style Essentials

by on April 10th, 2012

A colorful cocktail ring is a warm weather wardrobe staple, and in my opinion, no one does color better than Paolo Costagli. More so than most talented artists, Paolo has a knack for combining colors that is simply breathtaking.

He is probably best known for his peridot and pink sapphire pieces, inspired by a Florentine garden near the famous Piazzale Michelangelo. No less fabulous however, are the multitudes of other fabulous pairings like the mint tourmaline & violet sapphire, as well as deep pink tourmaline & pink sapphire, stunners above. No matter your personal taste or preferred color palette, Paolo undoubtedly has a ring so perfect, you’d think it was made just for you!

A Special Jewel & True Original

by on October 29th, 2011

Multicolored Sapphire & Diamond Necklace in Titanium with Matching Earrings

There is a rare breed of contemporary jewelry that, the minute it is made, one knows it will endure the vagaries of fashion and never become the victim of boredom.

This multicolored sapphire necklace is one such enduring example. Mounted in titanium, it combines quality material with superb design and craftsmanship. Built in Geneva, in one of the world’s finest workshops, it was so difficult to make the designer vowed he would never construct jewelry using these techniques again.

Titanium is one of the most difficult metals for a jeweler to craft; it is temperamental and stiff, so if mistakes are made the work must be scrapped and begun again. Gold and platinum are much more forgiving.

The audacious way that the designer has mirrored the brilliant colors of the sapphires in the titanium itself (through a painstaking scientific process that is difficult to describe and harder yet to understand) is what makes this a masterpiece.

Instead of creating a piece that could be considered gaudy or gauche, he has transformed what could have been a predictable multicolored sapphire necklace into something both elegant and utterly unique.

A Lesson in Time & Taste

by on October 28th, 2011

Todd Mansion, Greenwich in the Early 20th Century

Todd Mansion, Greenwich in the Early 20th Century

The 1930’s were a glorious period for the great Greenwich estates. Stone cutters, plaster workers and wood carvers put extraordinary finishing touches on grand houses; classically trained landscape architects designed wondrous gardens, then left in the hands of hereditary stewards; families hosted splendid dinner parties in wide backyard fields.

It was a time of grandeur, and within these walls, jewels of simple, but powerful beauty were worn with ease and abandon.

Below is a star sapphire of over 50 carats, beautifully set during that period. The rays of the star, glowing on fields of microscopic minerals riding the crystalline structure, extend vividly to it’s horizon.

30 Carat Star Sapphire Ring

An Elegant 30ct Star Sapphire Ring

Mimicking the geometry of this asterism, the gemstone is enhanced by triangular and kite-shaped diamond shoulders. These side stones were carved with no regard to the amount of diamond dropped away on the cutter’s floor to achieve the perfect symmetry demanded to follow the points of the central star.

My grandfather always maintained that to truly judge a jewelry craftsman’s care and ability, you have to look beneath, in this case inside, the piece; he’d have been thrilled by this ring.

Between bridging of platinum polished to mirror-like brightness (only achieved by “thrumming” leather or cotton strings through the ring’s openings for days), is the original owner’s cypher.

Cypher Underneath the Sapphire

The Original Owner's Cypher

To cut sapphire at all- the second hardest of substances- it takes a diamond; and to fashion this perfectly entwined monogram, it took a master cutter, working a graver formed from a diamond and then skillfully wielded in the most delicate and hardest task imaginable: carving an elegant cypher.

Pop used to say that the thirties were a time when you had to have taste to have money. Although some might suggest that this no longer remains the case, this jewel from one of Greenwich’s truly “Great Estates” could make you a believer that it once was the rule.

P.S., so would seeing Old Mrs. Wilshire, who early on in my career had her chauffeur stand outside the store’s door, holding a brace of massive, dignified wolfhounds…

Paul Morelli’s Majestic Meditation Bells- Now in Sterling Silver

by on October 1st, 2011

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Paul Morelli Gem-Set Meditation Bells in Sterling Silver, from $250

Ever since their introduction in 2009, Paul Morelli’s Meditation Bells have been a hit. Something about that sweet tinkling sound is simply irresistible, and the ingeniously-simple clasp mechanism allows for endless mixing and matching!

Each bell seems to have a character all its own, whether it be the gracefully classic, plain fluted bell or the whimsical and cheerful multicolored, gem-set versions, there is a bell for everyone. For instance, my current favorite is the “Raja” bell in gorgeously moody black rhodium sparkling with amethysts and black diamonds. A little bit edgy, but still playful and feminine.

Just launched in sterling silver, there is a bell for every budget! The new silver bells come in classic styles, including ones with Morelli’s signature granulation, as well as new, gem-set stunners, such as the ones pictured to the left.

Who couldn’t use a little more Zen in her life?

The Evolution of Diamond Cutting & the “Antique Cushion”

by on October 1st, 2011

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Betteridge Collection Graff 10.04ct 'Antique Cushion' Diamond Engagement Ring

Diamond cutting is a combination of art and science that has evolved over many centuries. A cutter’s understanding of diamond’s precise physical properties combined with a finesse to bring out exceptional beauty is extremely rare. Although the understanding of how to maximize the weight from a crystal and achieve maximum brilliance is now almost faultless, to realize a gem’s potential for beauty remains a true art form.

The first brilliants, known as Mazarin’s, were introduced in the middle of the 17th century. These crudely fashioned stones were a more sophisticated creation than the Indian rose-cuts, and these in turn gave way to the cushion-cut, which was the most popular style of cutting by the middle of the 18th century. Many historic gems were refashioned at this time including the Agra and Hope diamonds.

Although modern brilliants and princess-cut diamonds have established themselves as a benchmark of technical perfection, the “Antique Cushion” has endured aesthetically as one of the most beautiful ways to cut a stone. This 10.04 carat diamond is a lovely example, the GIA grade is G-color and VS2-clarity, which makes it an extraordinarily beautiful gem, but not so perfect as to demand an exorbitant price for the size.

Mounted simply by Graff to enhance the stones elegant shape, this ring presents a wonderful opportunity to own an important stone that represents value in every way.

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What Makes a Really Fine Colored Diamond?

by on July 22nd, 2011

Fancy Colored Diamond Bracelet

Depth of color is crucial and phenomenally rare in the truly “vivid” colored diamonds where the yellow is the color of safron or the pink is the color of a perfect beach rose.

This simple floral bracelet (amazingly built in platinum, which usually bleaches color, as opposed to enhancing it like gold) is composed of perfectly matched deep steel blues, glowing pinks and solid yellows. The bracelet demonstrates just what the best of colored diamonds can be.

Seen at left: Fancy colored diamond cluster bracelet, composed of 22 diamond flower clusters, set with yellow, pink, purplish-blue and white diamonds, the 154 diamonds weighing approximately 9.00 total carats and the clusters ranging from 7-9mm in diameter, mounted in platinum, designed by George Kogis.