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Archive for August, 2014

Tiffany T

One of the world’s most famous jewelry companies, Tiffany & Co., has released their new collection, “Tiffany T”.   The collection’s notable style element is the inclusion of (at least) a pair of T’s into every piece.  A simple example of this form is a wide sterling silver cut-out ring, with two capital T`s, facing towards each other.   A more innovative use of Tiffany’s monogram is found in an 18k rose gold chain bracelet, where the links are T`s.  The bracelet also comes in sterling silver, for those that prefer a more neutral color and lower price point.

Tiffany & Co. was founded in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young, and slowly grew to become the world’s premier jeweler and America’s leading house of design.  Francesca Amfitheatrof, the Tiffany & Co. design director, says her inspiration for the collection came from the style of architecture in New York City: sleek and modern.  Although she views the Tiffany “T” as part of the continuing evolution of their legendary styled collections, it strikes us as pedestrian for the venerable retailer to move beyond its signature branding and color into outright incorporation of a brand image into its pieces.  While this approach has been used by Chanel, in this case, the block shape of the ‘T’ seems too reminiscent of the Tissot watch emblem to be considered truly original.

See more of the Tiffany ‘T’ Collection:

John Hardy and His Snakes

Yesterday, John Hardy, a designer famous for his Asian-themed jewelry, released a new piece to his Naga Collection.  The new piece continues the Naga theme with a snake head covered in black sapphire, with red sapphire eyes, at the end of a multi-coiled bracelet, which subtly gives a more snake-like feel.  The coils are sterling silver, painted over in a black enamel, with the design looking scaly, and slightly evil.

John Hardy, founder of his eponymous company in 1975, was inspired by earthly religions like Hinduism and Buddhism for his Naga collection.  Both religions believe in an entity that possesses the power to turn into a snake, the Naga.  In Hinduism, Nagas are considered to be protectors of the springs, wells and rivers, while in Buddhism there is a belief that they live in underground streams and protect treasure and gold.  John Hardy is also very environmentally conscious, having established his company’s slogan,   “Greener Every Day” with the goal that his company to become carbon neutral.

Find the newly added piece to the Naga Collection:

The Creation of a Pearl

Most jewelry elements, like gemstones and metals, have to be mined, cut and shaped into something pretty, but the pearl is naturally beautiful, forming its glow and radiance in the oyster.  We all know that pearls come from an oyster, but do you know why or how?

The creation of a pearl all starts when an object whirling in the ocean lands in the shell of an oyster, and cannot come out.  The oyster, now irritated by the invader, defends itself by releasing a firm yet smooth crystalline substance, nacre, covering the object inside the shell.  The oyster will continue to produce nacre to cover the invader, and in the process forms a pearl.

Pearls come in a variety of colors, but how do the oysters produce the different colors?  There are many varying factors that contribute to the color change: the type of oyster, the thickness or the number of layers of nacre, but it is usually just chance.

Pearls, like diamonds, come in numerous grades reflecting the range of quality that comes from a natural process.  The majority of pearls do not meet even the minimum standard for use in jewelry.   Jewelry-grade pearls begin with ‘A’ grade, which means a clear finish, high luster with only slight surface blemishes.  A pearl’s luster  is a result of the depth of the nacre, and since the nacre builds up over time, the longer a pearl remains in the oyster, the deeper the luster becomes.  The grading system moves up through ‘AA’ and ‘AAA’ which is the highest grade, although some companies use additional intermediate grades.   In all cases, higher grades reflect a more clear and reflective surface with minimal surface blemishes.   And, of course, the occurrence of pearls at each higher grade is successively more rare, and thus more expensive.

Viking Style

This week,  Moon Raven Designs, a small and unusual design studio, released a handful of new handmade jewelry pieces.  Moon Raven Designs’ style has a definite rustic and simultaneously on-the-edge look, notably with their animal styled pieces of jewelry.  One of the new pieces is a solid bronze ax pendant, about an inch long, with curved edges on a rusty black chain, which continues the theme of the ax.  This necklace will surely bring out your inner Viking.  Another new item is a small elephant pendant necklace which comes in solid bronze or silver plated.  Moon Raven Designs only made the elephant`s head, emphasizing and slightly enlarging the ears, while putting much detail into the trunk and tusks.

Michael Doyle founded Moon Raven Designs in 1974, and works with his daughter to create handmade and distinctive designs, unyielding in his vision of not following the “current fashion trends.”   Their inspiration comes from nature with a slightly ghoulish sense that makes their jewelry both unique and edgy.  Go ahead and be different by wearing one of their pieces.

Moon Raven Designs new items:

A Charming Autumn from Pandora

Pandora, the jewelry company most famously known for their make-your-own charm bracelet, released a sneak peak of their new Autumn Collection.  One of the pieces released is a silver clip with a five-petaled flower in black, outlined in cubic zirconia, perhaps representing the death of plants as the weather gets colder, transitioning from summer to fall.  A second piece in the collection continues the autumn theme with a silver ring splitting off in the front to form two branches with many silver leaves.

Pandora, founded in 1982, is recognized for its charms, bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces that allow you to mix and combine, creating and defining your personal style.  Pandora is most closely associated with the popularization of charm bracelets in recent years, but the idea of a charm bracelet dates back to ancient times.  Originally, charm bracelets were worn as a form of amulet to ward off evil spirits, evolving to a form of identification, a symbol of faith, and at the end of War World II, soldiers would bring back charms for their wives.  So if you will be away from your loved ones for some of the fall, buying a charm bracelet from Pandora may be just the way to express your love.

The Autumn Collection:

(to view the sneak-peak, you have to be a member of the website)

Jewelry Cleaning Tips

One of the questions we are most often asked is, “How do I safely clean my fine jewelry?   The gems are smudged and the metal seems dull.”

Do not worry!  Here is our quick and simple (and it IS really easy) guide to jewelry cleaning:

First, a few warnings (that the lawyers are making me write): This applies to fine (i.e., solid silver or gold) jewelry only.  Costume jewelry is made differently, and you should consult the manufacturer for specific instructions on cleaning.  Also, this applies to cleaning metal (i.e., silver and gold) and natural gems.  Other material and stones may react differently.  Again, please consult the manufacturer for specific cleaning advice.

There are many ways to make jewelry look shiny and new again without using professional cleaners.  To restore your jewelry to the same nice, shiny look it had the first day you bought it, just follow these steps.

A warm solution of distilled water and a mild dish detergent will clean most surface dirt.  A gentle brush (such as a toothbrush or nail brush) will help to remove dirt and oils.  For more thorough cleaning of gold and gemstone jewelry, an old home “remedy” of white vinegar is an easy and quick solution.  Place the pieces into a bowl with an ounce of vinegar for about ten minutes, and use a toothbrush to remove the few stubborn spots.  Then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

To remove silver tarnish, you can try a home remedy using tin foil.  Simply place the silver jewelry on a sheet of tin foil and sprinkle baking soda on top.  Pour boiling water over the jewelry, then remove the jewelry and rinse it in water, and it will look completely transformed.

Leather and Crystal: A New Look from Swarovski

The famous jewelry and crystal manufacturer Swarovski has released their fall and winter collection, featuring Australian model Miranda Kerr.   With a focus on the younger and more fashion conscious consumer, a centerpiece of the collection is a bracelet that mixes a black leather strap with links of rose-gold and palladium.  The palladium loop is enhanced with pave crystals.  The contrast of the three textures and colors makes for a glamorous design.  The bracelet also comes with a beige leather strap, to create a completely different look.  The themes of rose-gold, crystal pave and leather recur throughout the collection.

Swarovski was founded in 1895, but it was not until 1977 that Swarovski branched off from being just a crystal cutting factory, to making their first jewelry collection. The Swarovski Company now has a large diversity of products including, crystal glass sculptures and miniatures, jewelry, home decor, and chandeliers.

To find more pieces in the Fall/Winter Collection: