New Girl on Jewelers’ Row

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For me, the fall always flies by and is usually measured by football games and leaves on the ground. This fall in particular has been marked by a barrage of changes for me. It was one year ago this past October that I decided to leave my position in the manufacturing world to pursue my own venture. Everyone* thought I was crazy and never going to make any money with Constance & Carob and that I should take another job before anyone noticed I was “out of work.” Instead, I actually turned down a few offers a few times, and chose to take on a couple of contracts that others felt were gambles at best. And then I did the unthinkable, I moved outside of NYC… and not just to the suburbs, I moved all the way to the suburbs of Philadelphia….

And it was the best decision I have ever made!

https://i1.wp.com/media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/84/7d/2d/847d2d6541d5179706018e248901c830.jpg(This image was chosen as the image of my departure from NYC and arrival in Philly by Frank’s son Orlando… We felt it was fitting.)

A few days after I got settled, I decided to canvas Jeweler’s Row for manufacturing partners in Philly so that I could avoid the long trip to NYC’s Diamond District at least for smaller projects. What I found was the shop of my dreams full of souls just waiting for me to join their United Nations-esq family. So, I did. And I can now say that I am a proud member of the FGS Gems family, located on the Historic Sansom** Street in Center City Philadelphia! Come visit. (That’s  kind of an order.)

FGS GEMS HOME

Why did I sign up?

https://i1.wp.com/mcneil-wiki-3-2010.wikispaces.com/file/view/2621QL10NNW1-4.jpg/178614211/2621QL10NNW1-4.jpgRemember the Cave of Wonders in Aladdin? It’s kind of like that in here… (yes, I know your mind is blown.) There are more gems in this shop than in most museums. NO JOKE! The owner Frank has the largest collection of stones (rough and cut) and mineral specimen I have ever seen. No seriously… just wait till we get into the safe.

*By everyone I mean industry wide and not actually everyone because I have had a great deal of people be very supportive of my choices to follow my dreams.

** Sansom Street was the first “Diamond/Jewelry” District in the United States! 😉 #historylesson

…..The Beginning of the New End Winking smile……

The Sound Track of Late Summer Sparkle ;)

As I design or prepare for shows, I always like to have a playlist to kind of set the tone for what I am doing. The genres vary but the content is generally the same. “I’m a girly girl who LOVES pretty things.” Sometimes, I’m fierce about it and other times I’m coy 😉 …… but this late in the summer I’m usually a little lazy but still my quirky self…. So on that note, here’s my spotify list as of late:

What are you playing?

Spinel, “The Most Under-appreciated Gem in History”

Day 9 of the Gemstone Wishlist for Tuscon:

Spinel, “The Most Underappreciated Gem of History”

Frequently referred to as the “most under-appreciated gemstone in History” or the “understudy ,” Spinel gets its name from the Greek word for “spark”, Spinter. Spinter was most likely the original name given to Spinel because of its amazing fire and brilliance (AKA. **SPARKLES**).

Spinel has a very long rich history, yet most people have never heard of the gem. Many people have seen Spinel without even knowing it, as it comes in many colors and the Reds look like fine Rubies and the Blue look like beautiful Sapphires.

Ever viewed The Crown Jewels?

The Most Famous Rubies in the World…. Are Red Spinel.

Recognize the Black Prince’s Ruby?

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It’s Spinel!

Ever seen the Timur Ruby?

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It’s Spinel!

It is speculated that upon further review of Royal Collections in Europe, many of the ‘Rubies’ would actually be discovered to be infiltrator Spinels. So if the most beautiful Rubies in the world are Spinel, and have been worn by royalty for decades…

Why wouldn’t Spinel be on my list and yours???

In fact Spinels are incredibly rare and not easily found in mass market settings due to unreliable/un-renewable sources. They are an elite group of very few gemstones that come out of the ground in a stunning display of colors from Grey-Blue to Pale Pink, with this level of color saturation, without being treated (it is widely accepted for most gemstones to be “enhanced” in some way.) All said, This Sparkling Stunner should fetch a much higher price than it does… but who’s complaining about unexpected great deals… Not me!!!

Which is your favorite color?

Got Spinel Fever? See what the Gemological Institute of America has to say about it:

Spinel @ GIA.edu

London Blue Topaz, “The Gem of Finishing School”

Day 8 of the Gemstone Wishlist for Tuscon:

London Blue Topaz is a beautiful Gemstone which has to be meticulously groomed into perfection, like a bonsai tree. London Blue Topaz is a natural gemstone (Topaz), but gets its color from a multi-step irradiation process.  Although, Topaz comes in blue naturally, the shade is usually very very faint, so irradiation for enhancement is accepted industry wide. The biggest benefit of the process is most definitely, affordable Glamour. Topaz comes in some larger crystals, it is easy enough to work with and very easy to wear because of its hardness.

As this is the Gemstone Wishlist, ordinary London Blue Topaz would not be on the list because it is not “rare” or “exotic,” What I am looking for is a massive unattainable in any other gemstone look (like over 25 Carat single stones…Yes, Elizabeth Taylor size.) Check out what these designers are doing with large London Blue Topaz:

John Hardy:

Kostantino:

        

Ippolita:

Cathy Waterman:

Kyanite, “The Gem with a Day Job”

Day 7 of the Gemstone Wishlist for Tuscon:

Kyanite, “The Gem with a Day Job”

Kyanite, which is Greek for “Deep Blue”, is a gemstone most typically blue to green in color with a very occasional blue-purple shade. The mineral itself is not rare but cut and polished stones are.  In truth the gemstones are so rare when you google: “Kyanite Jewelry” you will not find much.

My favorite designer, and really one of very few Fine Jewelers, working with Kyanite is Emily Armenta who crafts exquisite pieces of wearable art with Kyanite.

Kyanite makes it to Gemstone Wishlist not because of its unique color as it can be sometimes mistaken for sapphires, but for the actual properties of the stone. (Oh yes, I did it, I am going there…It’s about to get geeky here.) I am completely enamored with the poetic existence of Kyanite, (now bear with me as this is going in a very round about direction.)

Science: Kyanite as a mineral is most frequently used for industrial purposes. It has a unique reaction to heat, in some instances Kyanite is ground up and added to mixtures which would otherwise shrink, (ie. Porcelain, concrete ect.) because Kyanite doubles its own size when heated to just the right temperature.

signage

Belief: Generally people, seem to find peace and serenity in the blue Kyanite Crystal formations, saying that it absorbs negative energy.

Practice: Feng Shui practitioners uses Kyanite Crystals in homes and offices to bring calm to chaotic situations and even use it during meditations when times get particularly tough.

Practice: Ellegedly (although I do not yet feel comfortable enough in the source), Some people used to tie Kyanite into the ends of the hair, which was said to be able to guide a person as a compass.

Blue kyanite necklace rough blue kyanite shard pendant -choose your own

(Buy these from GypsyTribeJewerly on Etsy.com)

The Poem I see:

There is a stone which leads a double life, one as an industrial worker,

The other as a the focal point and inspiration of Fine Jewelers,

A mineral which instead of melting under fire, expands to its true potential,

A stone which stifles negative energy and offers peace to its neighbors,

A crystal which functions as the guiding light for the future,

A moral compass.

Sound like any phenomenal women you know?

 (My Mama, My Grandma, Ms. Meriweather, JoAnn, Laura Hope)

Make your own deductions about Kyanite as a gemstone, Start at:

 Geology.com

Emerald, “The Original Diva Gem”

Day 6 of the Gemstone Wishlist for Tuscon

emerald

Emerald, “the Original Diva Gem”

Monday, Every American was focused on the inauguration and all fashion eyes fell on two things Michelle Obama’s Bangs (OMG! Why did no one think of those sooner??? Fab!,) and The Reigning 1st lady of Song Beyonce and the order of thoughts, for me at least, went:

1)      EARRINGS!!!

2)      Perfect blonde curls.

3)      Song.. yeah sounds great.

4)     And as @OscarPRgirl put it:

“I mean could we not get a full length shot of B? who is running this?”

And No, She was not Lip-Syncing, If she were she would not have needed to remove her ear piece. Get it together people, It’s period.

But back to the earrings! Emeralds, Yes! The same choice Cleopatra would have made in Ancient Egypt!

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Instant glam, and sooo on trend as The Pantone color of the year is….. EMERALD.

Most people know what an Emerald is, considering it is one of the “Big 4” Precious Gemstones (Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald), and most people also know that the best Emeralds hail from Columbia. But Emeralds have a much richer history than that, Emeralds were mined in Egypt thousands of years before even Cleopatra (Although, she claimed them as her own and made them one of her signature luxuries.) Emeralds have always been adored by the elite from all across the globe from Africa to South America (the long way around of course.)

The name Emerald comes from “Esmeralde” which is Old French for “green gemstone,” and the Old French Translation came from the Greek word “Smargdos” which also means “green gemstone” (I know, it isn’t very original but it is a unique enough stone not to need more clarification, since true green is a difficult color to come by in natural gemstones.) Green is a difficult color to find in gemstones because of the chemical composition required (but that is boring… unless you are really interested in which case you can look on gemstone.org and find that it has to do with Chromium and Vanadium.)

Columbian Emeralds are regarded as the most impressive and valuable Emeralds in the world, because of the specific shade of green they display, however Emeralds are actually found all over the world. Emeralds can be found in Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Madagascar, India, Russia and even in North Carolina USA. In this way, Emeralds are not particularly rare, however, the perfect Emeralds we see on Red Carpets and at Inaugurations are each one in a billion.

Although Emeralds are not the softest or most delicate stones cutting them and maintaining size can be an issue due to they’re likelihood to cleave. When looking into an Emerald, you can almost always see tiny lines or striations, this is expected and accepted by consumers and collectors alike, (the Columbians even say you should see a “Fine Garden” inside Emeralds), but these characteristics are the weak points along which a stone is likely to break or shatter. These characteristics and the absence of them are what make Emeralds so precious. The perfect Emerald, with the ideal shade of rich Green and a tidy fine garden can easily earn more per carat than a diamond of the same carat weight.

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Seeing these Columbian Goodies on Angelina Jolie, who has somewhat adopted them as her own signature stones, is enough to make any Gem lover abandon the pinks and reds of Valentine’s Day for a little something sparkly and green.

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For more Gem Nourishment Visit:

Emeralds @ Gemstone.org

Natural Zircon, “The Most Imitated Gem”

Natural Zircon

Day 3 of the Gemstone Wishlist for Tuscon:

Natural Zircon is commonly confused with the diamond synthetics that high-jacked its name (Cubic Zirconia, or CZ). The copy stone is just about as close to Natural Zircon as Snookie is to Selma Hayek…

  

…but you would be surprised at how many fights I have with people (even in the industry) about the difference. (This is literally a problem, which I frequently address in emails that read something like this: Dear EVERYONE,

…I have recently requested samples to be made using White Zircon, which is a NATURAL gemstone NOT to be confused or supplemented with CZ a.k.a. Cubic Zirconia which is a completely synthetic stone. This is a costly mistake for which we could all get into a great deal of trouble for with our customers and the US government. Please be sure to differentiate!…)

The most disappointing thing about the total and complete identity theft is that Natural Zircon is an incredible gemstone with very unique properties and a rich history. The name Zircon is derivative of the Arabic words for golden colored, “Zar Gun.” This name was given because, although Zircon comes in as many colors as diamonds, and most people know them as a supplemental stone for diamond (which is probably why cubic ZIRCONia was the name chosen for fake diamonds. ß this also makes everything that much more confusing), the most common color is a beautiful golden or honey color.


Hailing only from the Eastern Hemisphere, Zircon can be deciphered fairly quickly if you know what to look for; it sparkles a great deal more than most gemstones because of its internal crystalline structure, which in a way functions as a set of mirrors to almost double the amount of actual facets seen with the naked eye.

All said, I will be going after a beautiful piece of honey to mahogany colored Natural Zircon at the show and luckily (this is probably the only positive side of this gemstone being confused with CZ) there is a lack of appreciation for Zircon in commercial markets so I should be able to snag one for a more than fair price now before everyone wakes up and realizes what great stone Natural Zircon is. (I get a certain sense of satisfaction in this, which I imagine is similar to one which an inside trader must get just before the market skyrockets :)! )


Earrings From Erica Courtney:

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For more information on Zircon check out what gemstone.org has to say:

Natural Zircon @ gemstone.org