If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love alexandrite, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in lamplight, it is a red gem, with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light.
Quartz is found in abundance from every corner of the earth. In its purest form, quartz is colorless, but is most prized for its purple variety — amethyst. Purple has long been considered a royal color, so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand throughout history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Great thinkers like Leonardo da Vinci believed that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
Occasionally, Mother Nature combines the colors of Amethyst and Citrine into a single, exciting gemstone we call Ametrine. The Anahi Mine in Bolivia became famous in the seventeenth century when a Spanish conquistador received it as a dowry when he married a princess from the Ayoreos tribe named Anahi. Ametrine was introduced to Europe through the conquistador’s gifts to the Spanish queen.
Ametrine is as affordable as regular amethyst or citrine, and you can have both gemstones for the price of one. Ametrine is especially inexpensive when you consider that it comes from only one place.
This elegant colored gemstone is the birthstone of March and is the symbol of youth, hope, health and fidelity. Aquamarine was long thought to have a soothing influence on married couples, making it a good anniversary gift. Many aquamarines are greenish when mined and cut. For those who prefer a purer blue, these gemstones are heated to enhance their blue color permanently. Some aquamarine fanciers prefer the greenish hues, saying the greener tones remind them more of the sea. The color tones of aquamarine are subtle and varied.
Despite the similarity of their names, chrysoberyl and beryl are two completely different gemstones. Chrysoberyl is the fourth-hardest natural gemstone and lies between corundum and Topaz on the Mohs hardness scale. Chrysoberyl is a mineral consisting of ordinary colorless or yellow transparent chrysoberyl, cymophane (chrysoberyl cat’s eye), and alexandrite.
Named from the French word for lemon, “citron” since citrine has a juicy lemon color. In ancient times, Citrine was carried as a protection against snake venom and evil thoughts. Brownish varieties are commonly heated and magically turn into the bright yellow or orange colors known as citrine. This enhancement method is permanent and will last for the life of the gemstones.
Today, most of the world’s emeralds are mined in Colombia, Brazil and Zambia. Emeralds can be cut in a variety of different shapes, ranging from the traditional rectangular step-cut, known as the “emerald cut,” to rounds, ovals, squares and cabochons.
Although emerald itself is quite durable and hard, inclusions may make individual gems vulnerable to damage if handled roughly. Early gemstone merchants sought to purify the transparency of their emeralds by immersing them in clear oils or paraffin. They found that clear oils and waxes rendered surface fissures less visible to the eye.
There are many new treatments in the market today, resins, hardeners and the like. We have made the decision to sell only traditionally enhanced material.
Garnet received its name from the ancient Greeks because the color reminded them of the “granatum,” or pomegranate seed. The versatile garnet comes in a virtual rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian demantoid and African tsavorite. The oranges and browns of spessartite and hessonite hail from Namibia and Sri Lanka and the subtle pinks and purples of the rhododendron flower, are also yours to explore.
Kunzite is relatively hard, but should be handled with care because, like diamond, it has a distinct cleavage. A sharp blow, if it lands in the wrong place, can break it in two. Kunzite should also be protected from heat and continued exposure to strong light, which may gradually fade its color. Surprisingly Kunzite was discovered in the United States, early in the twentieth century. Even its name has American roots: this pink gem variety of the mineral spodumene is named in tribute to George Kunz, the legendary gem scholar, gemologist, and gem buyer for Tiffany & Co at the turn of the century. Kunzite was first found in Connecticut, USA. But the first commercially significant deposit was discovered in 1902 in the Pala region of California, where morganite beryl was also first discovered.
Morganite was first discovered in California in the early twentieth century. A rich gem find of tourmaline, kunzite, and other gems outside San Diego started a gem rush in the region. Morganite was an exciting new discovery, one that drew the attention of the world’s most important gem buyer: George Kunz of Tiffany & Co. He decided to name it in honor of his biggest customer: millionaire bank tycoon J.P. Morgan, who was an avid gem collector. Although its color is pastel, it has a lushness rare in pink gemstones. There are deposits of this gemstone in Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Russia.
Opal occurs in different colors, ranging from semi-transparent to opaque. The most common is white opal. Crystal or water opal has a colorless body. The most valued variety, black opal, has a dark blue, gray, or black body color. Boulder opal combines precious opal with the ironstone in which it forms. Bright yellow, orange, or red fire opal are quite different from the other varieties of opal. Their day-glo tones, which are translucent to transparent, are beautiful with or without play of color. Opal, along with tourmaline, is the birthstone for October.
The fresh lime green of peridot is its distinctive signature. Its spring green color also is ideal with sky blue. Today most peridot is mined, often by hand, by Native Americans on the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Peridot found here is beautiful in color but relatively small in size. Faceted peridot from Arizona is rare in sizes above five carats. Fine large peridots are found in Burma and large quantities of peridot are also mined in China. In 1994, an exciting new deposit of fine peridot was discovered in Pakistan, 15,000 feet above sea level in the far west of the Himalayan Mountains in the Pakistanian part of Kashmir. Peridot, the birthstone for August, is harder than metal but softer than many gemstones.
This most sought after gemstone is available in a range of red hues, from purplish and bluish red to orangish red. Ruby is readily available in sizes up to 2 carats, but larger sizes can be obtained. However, in its finest quality, any size ruby can be scarce. In readily available small sizes, ruby makes an excellent accent gemstone because of its intense, pure red color. Many people associate its brilliant crimson colors with passion and love, making ruby an ideal choice for an engagement ring. Ruby is the red variety of the corundum mineral species, while all other colors of corundum are called Sapphire.
The ancient Persian rulers believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the heavens blue. Indeed, the very name in Latin, “Sapphiru,” means blue. But like the endless colors that appear in the sky, sapphire is also found in many, many other shades besides blue, from the gold of a sunrise, to the fiery reddish-orange of sunset, to the delicate violet of twilight. Sapphire may even resemble the pale white gloaming of an overcast day. These diverse colors are referred to as “fancy” color sapphires.
Centuries ago, in Sanskrit writings, spinel was called the daughter of ruby, adored, yet somehow different. The Crown Jewels of Great Britain are graced with spinels and have resided in the regalia of kingdoms throughout history.
Found in Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka and most recently Tanzania, spinel comes in a variety of colors including oranges, pinks, blues, lavenders, mauves and vivid reds. While common in sizes up to 2 carats, larger gemstones can also be acquired.
Spinel is thought to protect the owner from harm, to reconcile differences, and to soothe away sadness. However, the strongest reasons for buying a spinel are its rich, brilliant array of colors and its surprising affordability.
Tanzanite has the beauty, rarity and durability to rival any gemstone. It is the ultimate prize of a gemstone safari. Tanzanite is mined only in Tanzania at the feet of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. One of the most popular blue gemstones available today, tanzanite occurs in a variety of shapes and sizes and also provides a striking assortment of tonal qualities. Rarely pure blue, tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, tanzanite tends toward the lighter tones and the lavender color is more common. While in larger sizes, tanzanite typically displays deeper, richer color.
Topaz sometimes has the amber gold of fine cognac or the blush of a peach, and all the beautiful warm browns and oranges in between. Some rare and exceptional examples are pale pink to a sherry red. Topaz is found in Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa and China. The birthstone for November, topaz is a talisman for the sign of Sagittarius and is the suggested gift for the 23rd anniversary.
Topaz is a very hard gemstone, with a Mohs hardness of 8, but it can be split with a single sharp blow, a trait it shares with diamond. As a result it should be protected from hard knocks.
Vivid reds, hot pinks, verdant greens and blues abound in this marvelous gem variety. Earth tones as varied as a prairie sunset are readily available. Not only does tourmaline occur in a spectacular range of colors, but it also combines those colors in a single gemstone called “bi-color” or “parti-color” tourmaline. One color combination with a pink center and a green outer rim is called “watermelon” tourmaline, and is cut in thin slices similar to its namesake.
Dark blue, blue-green, and green tourmalines are occasionally heated to lighten their color. Red tourmalines, also known as rubellites, and pink varieties are sometimes heated or irradiated to improve their colors. Heat and irradiation color enhancement of tourmalines is permanent. Occasionally, some tourmalines may have surface-breaking fissures that are filled with resins, with or without hardeners.
The fiery, brilliance of zircon can rival any gemstone. The affordability of its vibrant greens, sky blues, and pleasing earth tones contributes to its growing popularity today. Zircon is mined in Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, and other countries. Because it can be colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between, it is a popular gem for connoisseurs who collect different colors or zircon from different localities.
The Georgian period is named after the four successive English kings George I, George II, George III and George IV spanning most of the 18th and part of the 19th century.
During the early Georgian period diamonds were the most desirable stone, but colored stones, such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, were later brought back into popular fashion. Jewelers experimented with new gem cuts, the most popular being rose cut and table cut. One way to determine if a jewelry item is Georgian is by the mount: stones set in Georgian pieces often had enclosed backs and were set over a foil.
The Victorian period follows the reign of Queen Victoria in Great Britain from 1836 to 1901. Queen Victoria’s love for her husband and children inspired jewelry that reflected a romantic and sentimental outlook. Flowers, hearts, bows and birds inspired beautiful pieces of jewelry, which showed the craftsmanship of the Victorian age. Serpent motifs were also popular. Semi-precious gemstones were often used during the Victorian period, which helped keep jewelry affordable for the mass market. Garnets, amethysts, corals, turquoise, and seed pearls were in style. Opals became increasingly popular, as Queen Victoria adored them. Diamonds were discovered in South Africa in 1867 and quickly became popular. Human hair was also incorporated in jewelry during the Victorian Period. This jewelry was given as a token of love and also worn as mourning jewelry.
Early Victorian (1837–1850) Similar to the Georgian era, early Victorian jewelry features nature-inspired designs delicately and intricately etched into gold. Lockets & brooches were popular.
Mid-Victorian (1860–1880) the Mid-Victorian era corresponded with the death of Queen Victoria’s husband, which inspired more solemn, grave designs known as mourning jewelry. The pieces feature heavy, dark stones like jet, onyx, amethyst, and garnet.
Late Victorian (1885–1900) During the Late Victorian or Aesthetic period, jewelers used diamonds and bright feminine gemstones such as sapphires, peridots, and spinels. Star and crescent designs as well as elaborate hatpins were very popular.
Art Nouveau 1880–1915
Art Nouveau period is characterized by the use of whiplash curves, organic swirling forms, natural motifs and various enameling techniques. Female forms, dancers, nymphs, mermaids, water lilies, flowers, dragonflies, and flowing lines are also recurring themes. The asymmetrical and fluid interpretation of nature was achieved through impression not direct copy.
Diamonds were used sparingly, usually as a subtle accent or to bring emphasis to a linear element. The most important material used during the Art Nouveau period was enamel. New enameling techniques like plique-à-jour allowed colors to be translucent, evoking stained glass windows.
Art Nouveau changed conventional ideas, rejecting centuries of tradition that art should simply copy nature. New designs expressed in a state of emergence, or metamorphosis, demonstrating a departure from the traditional realism that defined jewelry design throughout the 19th century. Jewelry was a fanciful interpretation of nature not replication. The dream-like quality and whimsical manor of Art Nouveau attempted to redefine the meaning of nature as a work of art.
Belle époque 1890–1920
Belle époque period also know as the Edwardian or Garland period, was a time when elegance and affluence was valued above all else in fashion and jewelry. Belle époque literally means” beautiful era”. A ’golden age’ for the upper classes, society was defined by its elegance. It was a time of peace between European powers. New technologies were improving lifestyles, particularly of the affluent, and the arts were adapting the past into the present.
Platinum was hard to work with because of it high melting temperature. Jewelers could not fuse or melt platinum in their workshops. Platinum sheets were only able to fused on top of gold by an industrial process outside of the workshop. Working with the gold portion, the jeweler could solder the connections and use the platinum top plate to set diamonds.
Jewelry had a delicate quality reflecting the femininity of the generation. The introduction of mountings in platinum, the hardest of metals, made it possible for workshops to create fabric like jewels emulating the new garland, laurel wreath, and lace motif inspiration from the classic style.
Diamonds, the most desirable gemstones, were used alone or in combination with the more traditional colored stones including sapphires, rubies and emeralds. However, colorful stones such as opals, amethysts and peridots were also utilized. The jewelry was subtle and graceful in appearance. Jewelry was worn in abundance. Rings were worn on almost every finger; bracelets adorned each arm and multiple strings of pearls were worn around the neck.
Art Deco 1915–1935
The Art Deco period took place from the early part of the 20th century to the onset of World War II. The style emphasizes strong geometric patterns, pure lines, distinct symmetry, and contrasting elements. Art Deco designs can be quite intricate, reflecting the technological achievements of the modern industrial age
The term Art Deco was first used in the title of an article written by Hilary Gelson in a November 1966 edition of the London times. The term Art Deco is actually derived from the French Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts). The international exhibition intended to showcase new technologies and designs was planned for 1915 but was postponed by the onset of World War I; it finally took place in 1925. A quote from the exhibitions handbook states, “works must incorporate modern industrial and decorative designs, imitations of ancient styles will be strickly prohibited.” Designs had to be new and modern, comprised of new materials and techniques.
Much of Art Deco’s character evolved directly from Art Nouveau and Belle époque, but its style is quite different. Art Nouveau and Belle époque jewelry can be much more simplistic in terms of construction design, using common methods of fastening and hinging, and flexible attached parts. If Art Nouveau drew inspiration from nature and natural form, Art Deco designers borrowed the style of machines. Belle époque forms were rounded and feminine in a classic style, Art Deco pieces were geometric and modern.
Art deco took full advantage of emerging technologies. New diamond cutting shapes and the emergence of platinum allowed designs to be more intricate and complex.
Persia, Egypt and China became sources of inspiration and jewelers borrowed from their decorative themes. The garland style and large floral corsages of the 19th century clashed with the flimsy garments of the 1920s, and the color palette changed from subtle pastels to vivid primary colors. The styling of jewelry evolved to accommodate the new fashion trends by introducing stacks of bracelets, cocktail rings, long pendants, jabots and double-clip combination brooches. Jewelry became the ultimate accessory.
The term Retro or retro-modern is credited to François Curiel of Christie auctions in 1970. During World War II platinum was commandeered for the war effort. With the end of World War II came an age of extravagant opulence. After six long lean years, the world was once again ready for luxury. Emphasis was on bold gold designs accented by semi-precious stones such as citrine and amethyst
The Retro-modern period can be characterized by the use of daring oversized and three-dimensional designs of rose, yellow and green, highly polished gold jewelry. Retro-modern jewelry often features large emerald-cut aquamarines, citrines and amethyst, accented with smaller rubies, sapphires and diamonds. Large pink gold bracelets, watches and necklaces reflected the glamour and enchantment that Hollywood inspired during times of crisis. The movies provided a wartime escape into a world of fantasy and romance that was “larger than life”.
Clips and brooches in the Retro-modern era were exaggerated in scale. The ribbon bow was the most popular motif, often highlighted in the center with a calibré cut gems. The Retro-modern jewels imitated the three dimensional folds of fabric which easily separated them from the two dimensional geometric summitry of Art Deco.
The opulence and stability that characterized post-war 1950’s culture was greeted with protest and defiance in the 1960’s, bringing an end to lavish jewelry design. The younger generation rejected the past and began filtering their opinions through art, fashion and jewelry. Artists were expanding their horizons and began making jewelry that was abstract, geometric, and set at random with colored gemstones. Vivid colors interplayed with various textures transformed into an abstract form. Stones were often left uncut and gold was chiseled, hammered, corded, plaited and twisted to obtain the desired effect.
By the 1970’s jewelry separated into two categories: unique creations set with exceptional stones, mostly made by commission; and jewelry that was affordable and could be worn everyday. Major jewelry houses began creating seasonal collections that followed the current styles and everyday fashions. The use of non-precious materials such as rock crystal, coral and exotic woods mixed with yellow gold became popular.
Perceived as excessive and greedy, the 1980’s were a time of widespread prosperity and a profound change in the social and professional role of women in society. Previously the recipients of jewelry, women were now in a position to choose and buy their own. Adapting to the latest look, jewelry became bold in design and size, mirroring the new status of women. Yellow gold remained the favorite precious metal, diamonds never lost their importance, and colored stones were selected for their decorative appeal.
Following the 1980’s there have been no definitive evolutions in style. The general trend has been to reinterpret nature in fresh, colorful and sculptural ways. This is often achieved using unusual gemstones in striking color combinations as well as making use of small, multicolored precious and semi-precious gemstones in pavé-settings. White metals such as platinum and white gold have become popular again and inspiration has been taken from jewels of the past as well as classic designs. New designers are emerging who work in ‘micro-pavé’; surfaces paved with tiny round stones. The main theme for modern jewelry has been individuality and wearability.
Bailey, Banks & Biddle
The distinguished Philadelphia firm of Bailey, Banks & Biddle was formed in 1878 from a partnership of Joseph T. Bailey II, George Banks (who formerly worked for J.E. Caldwell & Co.) and Samuel Biddle. The firm incorporated in 1894 with Bailey as president.
Black, Starr & Frost
The long history of Black, Starr & Frost, one of America’s most venerable firms, can be traced back to Marquand & Company, a small shop on broadway founded by Isaac Marquand in 1810. Like many growing companies of the time, it underwent a number of changes, partnerships and associations in order to survive and to keep up with the demands of a growing public. With the addition of partner William Black in the mid 19th century, the firm became Bell, Black & Co., standing as one of the country’s foremost jewelers, ranking alongside Tiffany & Co., designing for royalty, and exhibiting their jewels at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851. With the addition of partners Cortlandt Starr and Aaron Frost in 1876, the firm’s name became Black, Starr & Frost. For a short period in the 1920s, a merger with Gorham resulted in Black, Starr & Gorham Jewelry and Silverware Company, a name that is still familiar to customers today.
Mario Buccellati, whose family traces a gold and silversmithing history to the 19th century, began his apprenticeship with the firm Beltrami and Besnati in Milan at the ago of twelve. In 1919, he acquired the company, and soon counted among his clients popes and European royalty. The firm has maintained a high standard of quality and design though this century; in the 1950s achieving success with Renaissance inspired, pattered and textured gold pieces, and today offering an eclectic range of jewels at branches around the world. The founder’s grandson, Mario Buccellati II, presides over the American operation, and the New York City headquarters.
Bulgari originated more than a century ago when Soutirio Boulgaris immigrated from a small village in the Balkans to Rome, and opened a shop on via Sistina in 1879, moving in 1905 to via Condotti. He imbued his enterprise not only with the traditional values and skills established by the legendary Renaissance art workshops, but also with a commitment to developing a dsitinctive Bulgari style. His sons, Constantino and Giorgio creating the gold and silver combinations which have become a Bulgari distinction, Constantino writing Argentieri, Orafi e Gemmari d’Italia, a major reference work on Italian goldsmithery. After World War II, the firm achieved international renown for a distinctive mix of a Classical aesthetic with contemporary European style; popularizing cabachon cuts, using gold rather than platinum settings for high valued gems. and incorporating “archaeological” coins into their jewelry. Today Bugari has shops in many major cities as well as two showrooms in New York.
J.E. Caldwell & Co.
Begun in the 1830’s by James Emmett Caldwell (1813-1881) with a succession of different partners, the firm J.E. Caldwell & Co. was established in 1868. The Philadelphia firm specialized in watches and clocks as well as jewels.
Founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-Francois Cartier (1819-1904), the firm known as Cartier quickly became known for its exemplary workmanship and taste. Under the directorship of Louis-Francois’ three grandsons, Cartier soon became an international business with the eldest grandson Louis (1875-1942) directing the shop in Paris, Pierre (1878-1965) in New York, and Jaques (1884-1942) in London. Spurred by the economic prosperity between the wars, Cartier simultaneously created and fulfilled the demand for original and exceptional jewels, many made to order. In addition to attracting the world’s most eminent clients, many royal courts officially granted Cartier their royal patronage. In the first half of the 20th century under the direction of Jean Toussaint, Cartier introduced many innovations into the jewelry market. Primarily known for their work with diamonds, the firm designed lavish pieces, often incorporating other stones in new and unusual settings for contrast and color. Cartier also investigated Far Eastern, Indian and Egyptian sources, creating original designs from these influences. In the 1940s, after the deaths of their fathers, Louis’s son Claude took over the management of the New York Headquarters, and Jean-Jacques, Jacques’s son, took over London, leaving Pierre to maintain the Paris location. In the 1970s, Cartier expanded its product line with the concept of “Les Must de Cartier”, introduced by Robert Hocq and Alain-Dominique Perrin. Cartier also reunified its holdings throughout the world with the creation of Cartier Monde, under the direction of Joseph Kanoui. In 1982, Micheline Kanoui assumed the responsibility for jewelry design in the firm and today, Cartier International designs, manufactures and distributes all of Cartier’s luxury products worldwide within a network of over 200 Cartier stores and 10,000 authorized dealers.
The French firm known as Chaumet has flourished for over two hundred years. Traditionally, the reins of the business have been passed from one head designer to the next, retaining a standard of excellence and craftsmanship through the centuries. This history began in Paris with Matie-Etienne Nitot (1750-1809), and later has son Francois-Regnault (1779-1853), whose exquisite and lavish jewels won them the place of court jeweler to Napoleon, and set the precedent for coming generations of the firm who would enjoy similar royal patronage. With the backing of the Emperor, Nitot et Fils became the most famous jewelers of their day, culminating in the execution of a papal tiara given be Napoleon to Pius VII, which the elder Nitot presented to the pope himself.
In 1814, the business was taken up by Nitot et Fils’ head designer, Jean-Baptiste Fossin and his son, Jean-Jules Francois who, in addition to receiving continued royal patronage, attracted the attention of the artistic community. Himself a painter and sculptor who exhibited frequently at the Salon, it is perhaps appropriate that the elder Fossin’s bracelet for the Comtesse d’Haussonville of about 1844 appears in the portrait of her by Ingres, which now hangs in the Frick Collection in New York. The designer, Prosper Morel, who opened a shop in London where he supplied jewels and objets d’art to Queen Victoria.
The firm was brought into the 20th century by Joseph Chaumet, Morel’s son-in-law, who continued to attract a faithful royal clientele, and garnered new devotees from the glittering worlds of international society and cinema.
Dreicer & Co.
In 1904 J. Dreicer & Son represented the Parisian dealer A. Eknayan at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition held in St. Louis during the 1910-1920s, their jewelry was the equal of Parisian styles. The firm maintained a shop at 560 Fifth Avenue in New York with a branch located at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago. They were the first American jewelers to introduce the latest diamond cuts from Paris.
In 1923 the firm was liquidated and in 1924 Cartier in New York bought Dreicer’s stock for $2.5 million. Dreicer’s collection of paintings was given to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Fred Samuel began the Parisian firm known simply as Fred in 1936. Known for lavish pearl jewels, Fred’s devoted clientele was also attracted by the firm’s wide range of diamond and colored stone creations. During the 1960s, Samuel’s sons, Jean and Henri were involved in the business, located at 6 rue Royale.
Gerrard & Co. LTD.
The London firm Garrard was founded by jeweler and goldsmith George Wickes in 1721, who received his first Royal Appointment in 1735 from Frederick, Prince of Wales. Gerrard & Co. Ltd., which derived its name from Robert Gerrard, a Wickes’ successor who in 1792 co-partnered the firm with John Wakelin, was bestowed the title of Crown Jewelers in 1843 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. They still hold that title today, however the company is now part of Asprey PLC.
The Lucerne firm was begun in 1854 by Maurice Breitschmid, a watchmaker. Successful growth brought the addition of a partner, his son-in-law, Jacques-Edouard Gubelin. The watchmaking business profited from an international clientele who flocked to Lucerne for the horse shows, regattas, and other entertainments. Gubelin eventually took control of the business, opening a branch in New York, and, in 1921 expanding the line from watches to fine jewels. His legacy was ensured by his two sons, Dr. Edouard Gubelin, who went on to found an institute of gemology known throughout the world, and Walter Gubelin, who concentrated on creating new jewelry designs and drawing artists and designers into the business. It is this combination of fresh designs, in addition to a line of traditional jewelry, which distinguishes Gubelin to this day.
Perhaps more than any other dealer, Harry Winston (1896-1978) is associated with the world’s most famous diamonds. His career was spent traveling the world in search of the best and most beautiful jewels to satisfy his famous and powerful clients, including Indian maharajahs, European royalty, and American financiers and film stars. Winston’s career started in New York City where he wisely began buying and selling antique jewels, popular at the time with dealers who dismantled antique pieces and re-set stones in new mountings. By 1932, he was financially independent, and incorporated his own business, Harry Winston Inc. Today the firm still deals in famous and unusual jewels from its salons in many international cities and in New York at 718 Fifth Avenue.
Marcus & Co.
Marcus & Co. was established in 1892 when William Marcus was joined in the business by his father, Herman Marcus, and his brother, George Elder Marcus. By this time the family had already had a long career in the jewelry business. William Marcus had a business with George B. Jaques called Jaques & Marcus, and his father, Herman Marcus had worked in his native Germany for Ellemeyer, Dresden’s court jeweler, before coming to New York. In New York, Herman Marcus worked with Charles Tiffany and then Theodore B. Starr, with whom he established Starr & Marcus. Marcus & Co. had shops at 857 Broadway as well as at the corner of 45th Street and Fifth Avenue, from which the firm established itself as a forerunner in the Art Nouveau style. During the 1920s Marcus & Co. produced fine Art Deco Jewels, and opened branches in London, Paris, and Palm Beach.
In 1827 Mr. Rocher established a jewelry shop in Paris. At this time, political unrest meant scarcity of materials and therefore creativity was needed. Creators were turning to the middle ages for influence. In 1869 Rocher’s cousin, Jean Baptiste Noury, took over the business, just as the Cape of Good Hope diamond mines were discovered causing jewelry commissions to increase.In 1873 the firm attended the Vienna ‘Universal Exhibition’.
In 1876 a nephew of the family, the eager Georges Mauboussin, joined the firm as an apprentice and attended drawing classes in which he was extremely successful.
In 1878 the ‘Maison Noury’, as it was known, attended the Paris ‘Universal Exhibition’ where they received a bronze medal. These exhibitions were used to compare and evaluate contemporary talent, and to encourage production and innovation.
In 1883 Georges Mauboussin took control of the Noury workshops after another apprenticeship at the Maison Debacq. In 1898 Georges Mauboussin bought out the Noury family and assumed full control of the firm.
In 1922 the firm began trading under the name of ‘Mauboussin Successeur de Noury’. The name of Noury meant that loyal clients were not lost. Pierre Mauboussin, George’s son, joined the company until 1940. During this period in time, Mauboussin was employing 39 staff full-time.
In 1923 Georges moved the business to 3 Rue de Choiseul, a much larger location, where there was more light, more room and where he could gathered many artisans under one roof. His designers, renderers, lapidaries, diamond cutters, setters and goldsmiths occupied this new space. The location was more central to Paris’ luxury shops and suppliers in the Opera area.
In 1924, just after the New York exhibition, Pierre opened “Mauboussin Inc.” at 330 Park Avenue. The new salon, coupled with increasing demands, lead to the opening of yet another shop shortly thereafter on 51st Street. Pierre Mauboussin successfully pursued both of his passions – master jeweler and airplane designer; he was a strong creative force during this time.
Between 1924 and 1931 Georges Mauboussin’s firm participated in 18 expositions worldwide, in just seven years, – New York, Rio De Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Milan, Paris, branches were established in most of these important cities. It was unusual for European jewelers to travel across to South America. In 1927 Georges Mauboussin bought the ‘Nassak’ diamond, which Harry Winston bought from him in 1934. In 1928 Mauboussin organized an exhibition dedicated to emeralds. He produced a collection to raise awareness of the quality of the stones used in his creations. In this particular instance, 280 pieces of jewelry were on display. The key piece was a 24.88 carat emerald which Napoleon Bonaparte had given to Princess Josephine in 1800. It was remounted in a fashionable “Oriental” motif. The exhibition travelled to London and to New York where the Mauboussin name started to conjure up images of quality and innovation. While running the New York operation, Pierre designed the first Mauboussin airplane, which won 5 international records for speed. He also designed a car which bears the Mauboussin name.
In 1929, due to the economic crisis “Mauboussin Inc.” closed its New York offices. Despite unsettled times, Mauboussin employed 152 full-time staff and Pierre focused on engineering his designs. Mr. Mauboussin was made “Conseiller du Commerce Exterieur de la France” from 1929 to 1933.The next Mauboussin exhibition, which took place in 1930, was dedicated to rubies in an attempt to counter the negative effects the new “synthetic” rubies had on the market. Two hundred special pieces of jewelry all promoted the wonders of ruby and created a demand which far exceeded the supply. The Prince of Wales visited the exhibition, so did the Maharajah of Kapurthala and of Indore. In 1931 the third theme was exhibited: diamonds, which were already an international symbol of wealth and prestige. These innovative ideas stimulated the market in a time of world depression. Mauboussin was awarded the Grand Prix at the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and for contributions to the world of jewelry. Georges Mauboussin was given the “Légion d’Honneur”. The firm opened branches in London and Buenos Aires which have subsequently closed. By 1934 Marcel Goulet had a strong influence on the business. The economic crisis damaged the house of Mauboussin, as it did so many fine jewelers, causing it to close most of its foreign branches. This took its toll on Marcel, who brought in his son, Jean Goulet. His son was the same age as the Maharaja of Indore, and the two of them got along famously, this improving the stability of the firm. Jean went to India for two months to evaluate and re-design the Maharaja’s jewels. Marcel ran the firm until 1942, helped by his son Jean.
In 1936 Mauboussin joined forces with Trabert and Hoeffer due to hard economic times. In 1946 they became Mauboussin’s exclusive representative in the Unites States. All jewelry sold under this contract was signed “Trabert & Hoeffer Inc. – Mauboussin”. This relationship lasted until the 1950s. American actresses no longer needed to pass by Paris to acquire jewelry signed by Mauboussin, famous clientele included Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Paulette Goddard.
In 1938 The Queen Nazli of Egypt asked the Mauboussin house to remount and redesign her entire jewelry collection. Salvador Dali painted a portrait of Mrs. Jack Warner, who is wearing a very important Trabert & Hoeffer– Mauboussin cabochon emerald brooch.
In 1942 Jean Goulet became the company Commercial Director.
In 1962 the family agreed to change their names to Goulet-Mauboussin; because Pierre Mauboussin had no descendants and the Goulets were becoming directors of the brand — they each now share the same family name. Alain Goulet-Mauboussin started at the firm, establishing the company in the East. In 1975 Patrick Goulet-Mauboussin started to work towards developing a Middle Eastern clientele.
McTeigue & Co.
In 1895 Walter P. McTeigue was founded in New York City as a manufacturing enterprise producing fine diamond jewelry. Later renamed McTeigue & Company, their designs were featured regularly during the 1920s in a special column of the “Jewelers’ Circular.”
In 1975, Krementz & Co. of Newark, New Jersey, acquired the company and combined their manufacturing facilities with those of George Schuler & Co., in Pleasantville, New York, under the name Schuler-McTeigue. In 1991 however, their line of fine 18-karat gold and platinum diamond and colored stone rings continued to be produced by a separate division under the name McTeigue & Co. This division was acquired by Tiffany & Co.
Gioielleria Nardi embodies the traditions os the 18th century Venetian goldsmiths. The firm is famous for is “Moretto” or Blackmoor brooches, which were first created in 1930, and signed by Giulio or Sergio Nardi. While inspired by Shakespeare’s Othello, these brooches, as well as Nardi’s other jeweled creations, are rich in Oriental and antique influences and evoke the unique spirit of Venice. Nardi maintains salons in Padua, and in the Piazza San Marco, Venice.
Oscar Heyman & Bros.
For more than eighty years, the firm Oscar Heyman & Bros. has become known as one of the finest jewelry manufacturers in America, chosen by many top retailers to produce their designs. Although the company was formally founded in 1912 in the United States, Oscar and Nathan Heyman began training as jewelers as young boys in the Ukraine. In about 1906, after completing their training, and faced with the prospect of being drafted into the army, the two brothers left for America. They were joined in New York in the following year by their brother Harry. The three Heyman brothers found that their skills especially their ability to work with the newest metal of choice, platinum, were in high demand. When Pierre Cartier opened a branch of the shop in New York in 1908, he immediately hired Oscar Heyman for his workshop. By 1912, the brothers were able to open their own shop on Maiden Lane in lower New York City. They were soon joined by three younger brothers, George, Louis and William, and each contributed a particular and specific skill to the intricate process of producing high quality jewelry. While Oscar Heyman & Bros., now in its third generation of Heymans, does not sign its pieces, many are stamped with a serial number or can be traced to sketches in the company archives.
William Ruser gained his early jewelry experience while working for Trabert & Hoeffer, Inc.-Mauboussin in their Atlantic City shop. From there, he was transferred to the Los Angeles branch as manager. In 1947, After serving in the armed forces during World War II, he and his wife Pauline opened Ruser on Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills. He is most noted for his sculptural gold jewelry with pave’ diamonds, precious and semi-precious gemstones as well as his nature-inspired jewelry featuring birds, butterflies, fish, flowers and swans. Hollywood stars regularly visited his salon until 1969 when Ruser closed its doors.
A native New Yorker, legend has it that Seaman Schepps (1881-1972) was named after his mother gazed outside the window of her Lower East Side hospital room and saw the Seaman Bank for Savings. Schepps moved many times before returning to New York in 1921, opening a jewelry shop on Sixth Avenue near the Algonquin Hotel. After the shock of the 1929 stock market crash, he redirected his business, focusing on exclusive, bold, and innovative designs. By the 1940s his individual style was well-known: shells, for example, when placed in his hands, soon became lavish jeweled objects. Schepp’s designs are still produced from the showroom at Park Avenue and 58th Street.
Shreve, Crump & Low
The origins of this prestigious Boston jeweler date bake to 1796 when John McFarlane opened a jeweler’s shop at 51 Marlborough Street.
In 1819 John J. Low joined the company and in 1852 Benjamin Shreve came into the business as well.
With the addition of Charles H. Crump as a partner in 1869, the name was changed to Shreve, Crump & Low.
The store location changed twice, first in 1891 when they moved to the corner of Tremont and West Streets and in 1930 when a move to 330 Boylston Street was made.
1979 The Shreve family sold out when it became part of Henry Birks & Sons, a prominent Canadian jeweler.
This is William Tolliday working on one of his fairytale castles. He was born in 1915 and worked his entire career at Garrard & Co., London. In the late 1960s he began creating his fairytale castle of gold, sitting in, on and around the most beautiful mineral specimens.
He said he was inspired by the look of the Houses of Parliament and the buildings of Venice with the golden light of sunset behind them.
He first paints a watercolor of his design then selects a foundation mineral base to suit the 18ct golden towers and bridges he constructs piece by tiny piece. He blended red, yellow, soft white and oxidized white gold to develop depth and perspective.
The reflective properties of the minerals change the light of the gold as the towers are added and soldered into place. He used diamonds for windows, which gave a life-like flash in the high towers. Everything is in miniature ith amazing detail from the flags flying on the turrets, the rigging on the ships or the tiny trees hidden in the crystals.
He signed each piece with his name as a fine sprinkling of gold dust. As it takes, on average, 12 months to execute the planned sculpture, only three or four are completed each year from the first water color sketch.
Udall & Ballou
Founded in 1888, Udall & Ballou was one of the finest New York jewelers of the early 20th Century. In its advertisements, they mentioned locations in Palm Beach, Florida; on Bellevue Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island; and at rue Lafayette, Paris. The company also maintained a location on Fifth Avenue in New York.
By the 1920s they had become one of the most prosperous firms of the period.
In 1939, for the World’s Fair in New York, they contributed jewelry, which was abstract in design and architectural in effect. They were one of the few manufacturing jewelers identified with the famous “flower style” of the 1930s.
Udall & Ballou closed on 24th December 1949 due to the difficult financial situation.
Tiffany & Co.
Begun as a stationary and novelty shop, the firm now known as Tiffany & Co. is synonymous with quality and excellence in American silver and jewelry. With John B. Young and later J.L. Ellis as partners, Charles Louis Tiffany (1812-1902) expanded from stationary, accessories, and other articles into jewelry when, on a routine buying trip to Europe, the company purchased some gems. By 1887, with the acquisition of some of the French crown jewels, the firm established itself as a significant presence in the American jewelry market. Tiffany & Co. as the company was named after the retirement of Young and Ellis, became known for its innovative designs in silver as well. John C. Moore, the firm’s exclusive silver designer after 1851, was one of the first teachers os Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), the famous son of Charles Louis Tiffany, and the company’s first Director of Design. In 1902 Louis Comfort Tiffany opened the “Tiffany Art Jewelry” department to manufacture and sell is jewels and enamels, noted for their inspiration from nature, Far Eastern sources, and artistic sensibility. This artistic sensibility characterized Tiffany & Co.’s jewelry in the later 19th century as it does to this day. In 1956 the firm appointed its first signature designer, Jean Schlumberger, and continues its commitment to original design with its current signature designers, Elsa Perretti and Paloma Picasso.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels was formed through the collaboration of Alfred Van Cleef (1873-1938), who came from a long line of diamond dealers, and his two brothers-in-law, Charles Arpels (1880-1951) and Julien Arpels (1884-1964). Begun in 1898 in Paris, the firm had achieved substanial renown by 1906 when it moved to the prominent address of 22 place Vendome. Although the first New York location opened on, and closed soon after, October 24, 1929, the day of the wall street crash, the business reopened to considerable success in Rockefeller Center after participating in the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. Amoung the innovations of Van Cleef & Arpels are the Minaudiere, a jeweled evening case appointed with meticulously fitted accessories, as well as the famous technique of invisible settings which was patented in Paris in 1929 and first appeared in New York around 1935. Under the second generation, the sons of Julien Arpels, the Boutique was opened in 1954 in Paris and 1957 in New York. Aimed at the younger generation, the Boutique offered high quality, more affordable jewels. Now in the third generation, the business is still directed by the Van Cleef and Arpels families.
Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura (1898-1978) was born in Palermo to a legendary and eccentric noble family. His career as a jewelry designer was launched circa 1919 when he began collaborating with Coco Chanel. His love of the Baroque partnered well with her interest in medieval themes, leading to Verdura’s creation and re-creation of Chanel’s signature Maltese cross in enamel and gemstones. In 1934 he left for New York where he began working with Paul Flato, opening a branch of the shop in Los Angeles. By 1939, when Fulco di Verdura opened his own salon in New York, which flourished through the 1970s, his jewel-encrusted shells and multi-colored gold pieces were sought by an established and discerning clientele.
David Webb (1925–1975), who had assisted in his uncle’s jewelry shop in Ashville, North Carolina since the ago of eleven, moved to New York at sixteen to pursue a career as a jewelry designer. After apprenticing in a variety of shops, he began a business with Nina Silberstein in 1946. During the 1950s Webb sold his designs primarily at Bergdorf Goodman and Bonwit Teller, finally opening his own salon in 1963 at 7 East 57th Street.
Webb was known for his vast reference library from which he drew inspiration for his jewelry. His characteristically bold pieces were often influenced by ancient Greece, Rome and India, and constructed with a variety of materials in unusual combinations. It was this creative use of materials which attracted the attention of President and Mrs. Kennedy, who commissioned the designer to make a series of unique objects from American materials, such as Arizona malachite and iron pyrite, to give as state gifts. Webb is perhaps most famous for his animal forms inspired by, and in homage to, Cartier’s design arbiter for many years, Jeanne Toussaint. These and other Webb Designs from his many sketches are still produced today under his name be the Silberstein family. The salon is currently located at 445 Park Avenue.
Raymond Yard (1885–1964) began his career in fine jewels at the age of thirteen as a door boy at Marcus & Co. In 1922 he opened his own shop at 522 Fifth Avenue where his first commission was a Rockefeller wedding. His business was an instant and continued success, and discretion was his hallmark: Yard never advertised, and his loyal clients were willing to wait for him to obtain the perfect stone to complete a jewel. His formal, traditional designs depended upon the best stones in perfectly balanced combinations of cuts and sizes. After Yard’s death, his partner’s son, Robert M. Gibson, assumed control, and the firm still produces designs based upon Yard’s collection of ink and gouache drawings.
À jour (from French: jour = day) is a term used to describe open worked backgrounds, either by sawing or piercing. The open work resembles a honeycomb with either square or hexagonal openings. À jour settings for gemstones became popular around 1800.
A jewelry appraisal is a descriptive statement and monetary amount assigned to a particular item. The most common appraisal is an insurance appraisal. An insurance appraisal uses the monetary term “replacement value”. Replacement value is the actual cost to replace an item with an exact or similar item in the most common market of which the item is sold.
There are several other types of appraisals with different monetary calculations that are used for different purposes. Estate Liquidation and Fair market appraisals all use methodology.
Diamonds and other gemstones are secured with a bar running perpendicular to the ring separating each gem.
A bezel setting is one where a ring or rim of metal, perpendicular to the surface of the item, surrounding the girdle of a stone, is used to hold the stone in place. Also know as a collet setting.
Diamonds and other gemstones are set similar to a shared prong setting, where the prongs are connecting or bridged between the gems. The technique resembles a bar setting but is much lighter.
Diamonds and other gemstones are weighed using metric carats. Just as a dollar is divided into 100 pennies, a carat is divided into 100 points, which means that a diamond of 50 points weighs 0.50 carats.
The word “carat” is derived from word for “carob,” a Mediterranean seed from the carob tree. The carob seeds are inedible, but they were observed to have a very uniform size and weight. Centuries ago traders used these seeds as a standard of weight when trading gemstones.
Over time, it was discovered that despite their visual uniformity, carob seeds were not as consistent in size as previously thought and standardization of the measure for a gemstone”s weight was required. In 1907, a international conference on weights and measures adopted the carat as the official metric measurement for gemstone weights. One carat is defined as one-fifth of a gram or 200 milligrams.
Carat weight should not be confused with size. Different gemstones have different masses; therefore two round differing gemstones with the same dimension will have different weights.
Craponia also known as u-cut -pavé, v-cut -pavé or French -pavé is a modern diamond setting technique that features a minimal metal look. This style produces the allusion of the diamonds floating with the metal steeply rounding off away from the diamonds
Channel setting is a style of gemstone setting that involves placing a line of stones girdle-to-girdle in a groove so that there is no metal between them. No prongs, beads or bezels are required to hold the stones in place. The edge of the “channel” is smoothed over the stones to secure them.
A jewelry item that is cast has been made by a process that involves pouring molten metal into a mold and letting it harden.
Gemstones cut to exact millimeter sizes generally used in channel setting.
Jewelry that has been formed by striking gold or silver sheet in a die or between two dies is die struck. This compresses the molecules and forces the metal into every crevice of the die. The result is a highly detailed, strengthened metal object that easily takes a high polish.
A dog collar necklace fits closely to the neck and is usually comprised of several rows of pearls or beads or a wide ribbon ornamented with gem set plaques or brooches. The dog collar necklace was popular in the Edwardian period in emulation of Queen Alexandra who wore multiple rows of pearls to conceal a scar on her neck. The French term is collier de chien.
Enameling is the fusion of a special powdered glass to metals. Enamel can be applied in almost any color with engraved lines, engraved cells and raised borders. The glass can be applied using different techniques, but all methods use heat to melt the powder.
Basse-taille (from French: basse = “low”; taille = “engraving”) is a technique very similar to champlevé with a few differences. Basse-taille is an enameling technique in which the jeweler creates a low-relief pattern in metal, usually silver or gold, by engraving or chasing. The entire pattern is created in such a way that its highest point is lower than the surrounding metal. Translucent enamel is then applied to the metal, allowing light to reflect from the relief and creating an artistic effect.
Translated from the French, Champlevé means “raised field.” Champlevé is an enamel process where the surface to be enameled is carved, engraved, stamped or etched with a design prior to enameling. The powdered enamel is fired into the design highlighting it. Later processes involves cutting the metal away to leave thin walls similar to those used in cloisonné. With this technique the cells are filled with enamel to the height of the cell walls and smoothed over.
Cloisonné (from French: cloison = partition) is an enamel technique where formed wires in closed shapes are affixed onto a base and then filled with enamel. The wires form the raised walls or partitions surrounding these individual cells. This is the reverse of the Champlevé technique where the cell walls are at the same level as the base metal.
Guilloche is a metal engraving style of concentric design made by mechanical means. Often this design is covered by transparent enamels.
Plique-à-jour is a French term for enamel that has no backing. A design is outlined in metal and filled with various colored transparent enamels giving the effect of a stained glass window.
Estate jewelry refers to previously owned jewelry. The category of estate jewelry includes antique and vintage jewelry as well as modern and contemporary.
A ring consisting of a continuous circle of similar sized gemstones or diamonds.
Filigree work is the name given to very fine metal wires, which are form delicate designs. A more commonly known filigree adaptation is to create a design from the wires without a base, thus creating an openwork jewelry object. The latter style was especially popular during the 19th century as a revival of a medieval technique.
No other metal holds such a significant place in world history as gold. The mysticism and value placed on gold dates back to the ancient Greeks and references to gold can even be found in the bible.
“Khrysos (Gold) is a child of Zeus; neither moth nor rust devoureth it; but the mind of man is devoured by this supreme possession.” – 5th century Greek fragment.
Gold is the most malleable and ductile of all metals making it the perfect medium for jewelry. However, the downside to gold malleability is its softness. To ensure gold jewelry withstands the test of time gold is mixed with other metals to create alloy. Different alloys are produced to modify the hardness and color of gold.
The purity of gold is expressed in Karat measurements, of which there are 24 parts. For example: pure gold is 24-karat gold. 18-karat gold is 18/24th part gold or 75% gold (18-karat gold jewelry is often stamped with either 18K or 750 to signify its purity).
The Karat measuring system was developed when the Byzantine coin, the solidus, was divided into 24 Keratia.
Gold is indestructible and can be recycled and reused over and over again.
Granulation is a process that causes very small gold beads to adhere to the surface metal, through heat, with no apparent solder. Granulation can be applied in designs or lines to form textures or designs. This has been a popular way to decorate and texture jewelry items since ancient times. The technique has been known since Etruscan times and was revived in the 19th century.
A gypsy setting is used for rings where the stone is secured without a bezel but by recessing the stone into a hole in the ring and pressing a flange of metal around the girdle of the stone.
Handmade jewelry must be entirely shaped and formed from the raw materials used. The finishing must also be done by hand labor. The Federal Trade Commission has a strict set of rules regarding the use of the term handmade. At Pampillonia Jewelers designs are entirely handmade with out the reliance on computer assistance. Time-honored techniques are combined with old world craftsmanship avoiding a stiff and wooden machine like outcome. The finished product is fluid composition of balance and sumptuousness avoiding the stiffness of computer-assisted manufacturing.
Inlay is a type of decorative work using thin flat gem material or metal to create a design on the surface of wood, metal, ivory or gem material.
Intaglio is a technique that dates back to at least the times of ancient Greece and is still in use at present. Patterns, designs or — more frequently — images are carved or engraved in gemstones leaving a hollow impression in the untouched background. This style of carving is the opposite of the cameo technique.
Invisible settings are comprised of stones that have been calibrated to very close tolerances and are cut with grooved girdles that are locked into a thin wire framework. This allows large areas of jewelry to be coated “seamlessly” with gemstones. There are no prongs, bezel or other visible means of holding the stones
Jabot is French, meaning, “ruffle”. It is a pin with a jeweled section at each end. When worn, the pin stem is hidden and the two terminals appear separated by fabric.
Micro-pavé is a diamond setting technique using the smallest of round diamonds. New technologies have allowed for cutting diamond in sizes as small as .03 points. The setting of these diamonds is very precise and is done under a microscope.
Millegraining is a detail that finishes an edge on a piece of jewelry. The detail is applied as a fine beaded texture. The millegrained edges on platinum can be on a fine wire, a knife edge wire, a bezel setting around a stone, an outline of a pattern or design detail, a channel edge, and as with the beads in gold used to finish a design detail. The millegraining of the metal edges allow the diamonds and gemstones to sparkle without competing with reflected light from a highly polished platinum edge.
Mourning jewelry is jewelry worn when the wearer is in mourning. Generally gold with black onyx or black enamel accents.
Openwork uses piercing techniques to produce decorative motifs by cutting away metal on a flat area or band to allow the passage of light.
Oxidation results when metal combines with oxygen and produces an oxide or antique finish. This is not tarnish but a coating of oxide such as what results when sterling silver (a copper and silver alloy) is heated and a copper oxide coats the object.
A parure is a set of matching jewelry which is comprised of a necklace, bracelets, a ring, earrings, and brooch. A demi-parure is a less elaborate suite of – usually – a necklace, earrings and a brooch.
Pavé translates as a paving-stone setting. In this technique many small stones are set very close together in order to cover an entire piece, concealing the metal. An item covered in stones using this technique is said to have a pavé setting.
Palladium is a member of the platinum group. The difference between palladium and the rest of the platinum group is that it is subject to attack by nitric acid and by hot sulfuric acid. It is very soft and malleable and is sometimes beaten into leaf for decorative purposes. Alloyed with gold it results in a very white metal with only a 15 percent concentration. It is used in solder for platinum. Alloyed with ruthenium and rhodium it is suitable for jewelry having the look of platinum but half the weight.
To the Native Americans who first discovered Platinum in South America this precious metal was not considered valuable. Europeans were equally unimpressed, they called it; platina, meaning “little silver”.
It was not until the 18th century that Platinum was recognized for its unique properties. Platinum is a durable heavy metal. It is strong, yet at the same time very malleable and, unlike silver, platinum is resistant to oxidization (meaning it will not turn black).
By the Mid 19th century jewelers truly began to appreciate the full potential of platinum. Its beautiful silver color perfectly complimented diamonds, it could be brightly polished and its resistance to oxidation made it a fine metal to put in their jewelry. However, due to platinum”s high melting temperature jewelers were unable to fuse or melt platinum in their workshops.
Today, with the knowledge and tools to melt and fuse platinum, it is used in the finest of jewelry. Due to high demand, rarity and its favorable traits, platinum is more expensive than gold.
A prong setting consists of a series of metal wires or claws designed to hold a stone in place. They are usually arranged in groups of four or six.
Repoussé is a decorative technique whereby relief designs are formed by raising the metal from the inside out. This is accomplished using hand punches and hammers on metal that has been placed into a bed of something that will yield to pressure, such as pitch. The metal is periodically annealed to prevent it from breaking.
A Riviera necklace is comprised of gemstones (most often diamonds) of the same size or gradual size going all the way around the neck.
A long necklace with a tassel or pendant as the main focal point.
Signed jewelry indicates that a particular maker or designer manufactured the item. Jewelry is often stamped with the makers name, initials or logo. In cases where the maker is known, but there is no indication on the piece, it is said to be attributed to that maker.
Solitaire comes from the French word for “alone” and refers mainly to diamonds that are set alone in a ring, as in traditional engagement ring.
The term suffragette comes from the word suffrage, which means the right to vote. The most prominent women suffrage groups to symbolize used three colors: Purple (Amethyst) for dignity, white (diamond) for purity and green (Jade) for hope.
Synthetic gemstones are artificially created gemstones that have the same chemical build up as their natural counterparts. They therefore have the same optical and physical properties as their natural counterparts. They are seldom rare or have much value.
Tiffany setting refers to a two piece assemble setting consisting a narrow shank and a scalloped six prong crown. Developed by Tiffany and Co. in 1880.
Vintage Estate Jewelry
Vintage estate jewelry refers to previously owned and typically older jewelry that has been passed down through generations or acquired through estate sales or auctions. The term “vintage” generally refers to items that are at least 20 years old, while “estate” refers to jewelry that has been previously owned. Vintage estate jewelry often has a unique style and craftsmanship that may not be found in contemporary jewelry designs. These pieces may be valuable due to their age, rarity, and historical or cultural significance.
White gold was invented in the 19th century where it was alloyed with palladium. It became commercially available as of 1912 in Pforzheim, Germany and gained popularity in the mid-1920’s as a low cost substitute for platinum. It is an alloy of gold with copper, zinc and nickel. In more recent times due to allergic reactions a platinum family metal has often replaced the use of nickel in this alloy.