Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jewelry Round-Up - Rings

Every once in a while, I like to look through pages of jewelry items I can't afford but would love to own. There are so many vintage styles that I adore, but also a handful of modern looks.

When I was in the jewelry business, I did a lot of appraisals. Some folks jewelry was pretty ordinary, but once in a while I'd get a batch of really gorgeous things to ogle as I was measuring and estimating. There was one diamond cluster ring in particular that took my breath away. The center diamond was over a carat, and it was surrounded by approximately .10 carat smaller round diamonds. It was an old European cut with a larger crown and shallower pavilion, so the setting had a fairly low profile against the top of the finger. It was just stunning. I've found similar rings on the Internet, and this one on the right is a good example.

Lots of the engagement rings available today have a similar feel - large center stone surrounded by many smaller stones - but it's just not the same. Today's rings tend to be far too over-the-top, with diamonds tucked away in weird areas in the gallery, making them hard to clean (because the most important thing to do with a diamond ring is to keep it clean so it is always sparkly and bright). Plus, I think they're all starting to look the same. No offense to those of you who like that sort of thing. I just don't. Give me an old fashioned diamond cluster any day over a modern one, please.

Then there are snake rings. I loooove snake rings for some reason. I own two or three, including a cool Victorian enameled one that's far too big for my scrawny fingers. Here are some others I really like that I've found all over the Web. The third ring in the top row is a favorite, for its daintiness and the very well-done engraving. the double snake in the center of row two is also well done, and the bottom ring on the left side pairs two of my favorite jewelry elements--snakes and opals--into one simple but gorgeous ring. The enameled snake on the bottom right is unusual in that it includes a cluster of pearls to simulate snake eggs. Very cool.

While this Tiffany rose gold bow ring is modern, I find its simple asymmetrical style very attractive.

This Armenta ring, available at Bergdorf's, is pretty cool. The center stone is a reconstituted turquoise and rutilated quartz doublet. In other words, it's a composite gemstone made from two elements. One is a flat disc of blue stone made by compressing scraps of turquoise with binder and dye into a block that can be cut into shape. The other is a cabochon-shaped dome of clear quartz that has needlelike inclusions of a mineral called rutile embedded in it. The two are glued together to make a doublet. (This isn't a new thing. Many opals on the market are doublets.) This sorta-gem is set in 18K yellow gold with .20 carats of diamonds and white sapphires on a sterling silver band that has been oxidized to a deep matte black. I think it's pretty darn cool looking.

Like anything you see here? Leave a comment and we'll discuss!

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Monday, July 10, 2017

Gorgeous Opal Jewelry

opal fishnet bib by Carolyn TylerAs I perused the Web for opal jewelry, I stumbled upon this image of a high-karat gold bib festooned with boulder opals. It took my breath away, so I clicked through to find out more about the designer.

Carolyn Tyler is a native Californian who moved to Indonesia after falling in love with beautiful Bali. Her designs are executed there by skilled Balinese craftsmen, using high-karat gold, sterling silver, and gemstones. My kind of gig, let me tell you! It would be my dream to have a workshop full of talented goldsmiths who would take my drawings and turn them into three-dimensional works of art.

Carolyn Tyler Spiral Snake Ring with opalCarolyn's designs are very much within my personal aesthetic, and indeed there are similarities in the materials we prefer to use as well. I love to use fossil ammonites and asymmetrically-shaped boulder opals, stones that, as Carolyn says, have spirit. They are also some of the most beautiful things that nature has to offer.

Whereas the stones she uses in her designs are not precisely-cut or otherwise flawless, her designs are. They are a wonderful, carefully balanced, melange of colorful gemstones set in sunny yellow metal adorned with the ancient technique of applying hundreds of miniscule orbs of gold known as granulation. Her pieces can take weeks or months to complete, and the results are worth every minute.

See more of Ms. Tyler's jewelry by visiting her Web site at (Her site design is also pretty great, IMHO.)


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