David Klass Contest Band Part 2

There may be some irony that the post on the week of my birthday is not on diamonds, but sapphires.

Back in October 2014 I posted an entry about a band I had entered into a contest that David Klass was having. You can read that blog post here. I had originally designed it based on the pattern of the “Reverse Shell” piping that drove me crazy during nightly practice as a pastry student. I have a love/hate relationship with that particular pattern, as I find it beautiful, but I’m such a perfectionist when it comes to piping that I would go nuts every night trying to get it just right. This picture probably shows it best (this is not my picture or my work) but whoever did it screwed up on the left.

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I had been debating for months (almost 6!) about what color metal, what color stones, and trying to talk myself out of white metal and white diamonds because almost my entire jewelry box is full of white metal (I so badly need to remedy that) because it goes with just about everything. Except not so much yellow gold and peach…and then I realized that not only did I want to diversify, grow outwards and look towards what I want to do instead of what I already have. So, in anticipation of completing the padparadscha sapphire ring, I decided that it needed a band to go with it. Or, two. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

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So, diversify I did. I ended up telling David to make it for me in 14kt rose gold and pink sapphires to coordinate with the anticipated pad sapphire ring.

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I had seen an additional band that David had done a while back that was similarly curvy to my design, but had a softer, more floral feel to it. I asked him to make one of those for me in yellow gold in addition to my original design, again, for a bit more variety, and to add some texture too.

Check it out, when they are stacked just right, you can see a heart. It’s the little details that make my heart pitter patter.

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With a Blue Nile pink sapphire and rose gold eternity band. You can find it here.

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If you’re interested in this band in any variety of metals or stone colors, feel free to contact me!

Oscar Jewelry

It’s that time! Oscar fever!

I don’t really pay much attention to Hollywood award ceremonies. Except for the red carpet. I swear, it’s the only reason these ceremonies exist in the public eye. Evening gown designers, shoe designers, makeup artists, stylists, hair stylists, I get tired just thinking about how much work goes into creating one person’s “look” for a few hours. Regardless, I still enjoy seeing it all put together, and it’s a good way to stay on top of the trends.

I wanted to do a bit of a post about some of the jewelry and fashion that has stuck out the most to me from over the years, since we’re in the middle of awards season and approaching the Oscars. It turns out that I pay more attention to the Oscars than I do the other red carpets, but that might have to do with it being the creme de la creme, or at least that’s what Hollywood wants us to think.

Without further ado, here are some of the jewelry pieces (and complete looks!) that have stood out to me over the past several years.

In 2013, at the Oscars, Robin Roberts was recovering from cancer treatment, but you would never guess it, seeing her in a stunning Marc Bouwer blue velvet gown and gorgeous blue sapphire (I think?) and diamond earrings, bracelet and a ring. Does anyone know who made them? I searched and sadly couldn’t find a name attached to them or details! So if you’re the designer of these pieces, or know who made them, I’d love to be able to associate a name to them! I love that she really embraced blue, covering herself in it, and instead of looking dated (hello 1980s!) her blue eyeshadow just made her look positively radiant and pulled the whole look together.

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Now, Jennifer Lawrence sort of debuted as America’s newest Sweetheart when she tripped going up the stairs at the 2013 Oscars. But what was really catching people’s attention was the long Chopard necklace with 73cts of diamond beads, that she wore down her back. Her other jewels, while receiving a lot less notice were still just as fabulous, Chopard earrings totaling 23 cts of diamonds, made with round brilliant and rose cut diamonds, Chopard floral diamond ring that’s 8cts and a Chopard diamond band weighing 5cts.

Grand total: 109cts

Not bad Jen!

I’ve been thinking about diamond beads since Carrie’s necklace in the Sex and the City finale, but that trend never seemed to get off the ground. This one makes a much bigger statement than Carrie’s did, and I don’t know that Jennifer will ever be able to top the perfection of this look. The hair, the dress, the makeup, the jewelry, everything was positively spot on.

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In 2004, Angelina Jolie wasn’t yet the object of Brad Pitt’s affections and tabloid fodder. But I still remember admiring her stunning white gown by Marc Bouwer and almost falling over at her necklace – the $10 million, 85-carat Athena necklace, a piece on loan from H. Stern, featuring flawless D colored diamonds. The combination of the dress and the necklace was stunning, and combined with Angelina’s lighter hair, understated makeup and subtle diamond earrings, had Hollywood glamour with a hint of the raciness that put Angelina on the map.

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This is probably the first time I’ve thought that Lady Gaga actually looked demure and lady-like, but I guess the Oscars kind of requires that. She was bedecked in Lorraine Schwartz rose gold and 20ct diamond studs, rose gold and diamond bracelet, and a rose gold and fancy grey diamond ring surrounded by pink diamonds. My favorite part about her jewelry, although I couldn’t find a good picture, was the ring. I love gray gemstones so much! And to be paired with a pale pink and silver beaded Art Deco inspired Versace gown, she looked positively luminous. Why on earth did she make so many worst dressed lists? Sure, it’s not as scandalous as a meat dress, but I think she looks appropriate for the occasion, and shockingly normal.

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Lady Gaga at Oscars (close up)

So I have to confess, I have no idea who Samantha Barks is. But her dress and necklace at the 2013 Oscars are perfect together, really stood out to the jewelry obsessed, and the dress framed it perfectly. The official description of the necklace reads: “House of Waris for Forevermark Light Emanating from the Heart pendant in 18k yellow gold with Oval Forevermark diamond.” This 14.67-carat oval diamond really stood out in the crowd – that’s one thing about ovals – they have a lot of presence!

Samantha Barks diamond necklace

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Last, but certainly not least, is this elegant look from Angelina from almost 6 years ago, Oscars 2009. These earrings have spawned a ton of cheap imitations, but let me tell you, nothing can replicate the glowy green of Colombian Emerald! These are Lorraine Schwartz (of course!) and they are Colombian Emerald 115ctw earrings with a matching 65ct ring. They really stole the show from both Angelina (wearing impeccable subtle makeup yet again! It suits her.) and the black Elie Saab dress.

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So these are some of the jewelry looks that have stood out to me over the past decade, even before I was really paying attention to jewelry as closely as I do now. I really wish that there was more color out on the red carpet, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the award ceremonies that will be on our TV screens soon!

Exciting News!

I am adding an extra post this week to announce that I have opened up an etsy store! Now, I’m still working towards getting my own site with my own designs, but in the meantime, I really wanted to get some of the loose gemstones that have been collected over the years out of my possession and into someone else’s.

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I don’t plan on replenishing the supply of gemstones because I can’t set or keep everything and I need to make space for new stuff! So if I don’t already have it in my possession, odds are good that I won’t be getting it, but I can always point you in a direction that might be fruitful.

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There are also some items of jewelry and settings on the etsy store as well, mostly because I don’t have room in my jewelry box for them anymore. Hah!

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This post is to announce the grand opening of my etsy shop!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheGemstoneProject

Because I wanted to thank my readers for checking it out, if you see something you like, I’m offering a 10% off coupon code (no quotes) on any purchase over $100 for the month of February: “GRANDOPENING”

My inventory consists of mostly precision cut stones, with a heavy emphasis on oranges, reds, purples and blues, plus a healthy dose of green, and some random earthy shades as well. There is always the risk that I’ll randomly get inspired by a gem in the shop, and it may be pulled to make into a piece of jewelry, so if you see something you like, please grab it while you can!

So please, check out the store, and if you’re looking for something in particular, I might have it, and it just hasn’t been listed yet. So please feel free to reach out and ask if I have an item and you don’t see it in the shop. Should you end up picking up something, I’m always available to help design a setting!

Feature: Jewels by Grace

I promised you a feature with Grace Lavarro of Jewels by Grace, and today is the day! So if you’ve ever wanted to know what her real engagement ring looks like, or what her favorite item of jewelry is, read on!

So, to start off easy, what is your favorite cocktail?
​My current poison of choice is Ginger Gimlets.

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When did you first fall in love with jewelry?
​I’ve always been very curious about jewelry but my “real” interest started when I started the hunt for the my 1st (hah!) engagement ring. We were young, with limited funds, so we scrimped and saved for this ring – a 1ct princess cut diamond ring 🙂 I loved everything about it then, and I designed the setting as well.​

What do you think every woman should have in her jewelry box? I’m going to limit it to 5 things, because I know you!
​I always advocate that women should have a versatile jewelry suite – several pieces that would easily take them from day to night, from casual to glam. I will pretend that I did not read the “limit to 5” restriction 🙂 But in all seriousness, if we had to limit this to 5, then the last 2 items listed may be left off.

Beautiful earrings. Not many people know this about me, but earrings are MY favorite piece of jewelry. With my earrings on, I feel complete. These can be studs, or dangles. I am partial to dangles because I do like seeing the sparkle and glimmer of gems when one’s head moves. Earrings frame a beautiful face beautifully – everyone SHOULD have a killer pair of earrings!

A nice solitaire – and by nice, I don’t necessarily mean huge! I am talking about a ring that is classically styled and elegant. A half carat diamond in a beautiful setting is more beautiful in my eyes than a poorly-cut diamond in an unattractive, “look-at-me” setting.

​A blingy right hand ring,​ ​preferably vintage, for that certain je ne sais quoi​​. Because right hand rings REALLY need to be bold, and big, and be present on the finger!

A long chain necklace is a must as well. It can be a diamonds-by-the-yard style, or a chain with some intricate design details. I like them long enough to wear doubled and I am very partial to French chains – they have the prettiest patterns and styles and work very well for layering. Even if only in a t-shirt, an elegant long necklace finishes any ensemble very, very nicely.

Wrist bling! Wrists are the last frontier for me (no, I don’t think I will ever advocate for belly button jewelry)! I like seeing pieces on wrists with some depth – different colored metal perhaps, or a mix of the old and the new. I like wearing all my bracelets and cuffs on the right wrist, stacked with my watch. I call it “organized chaos.”

And, if budget allows, these two other pieces:
A band that can be worn stacked, yet be bold enough to be worn on its own. This could be a 5 or 7 stone band, or an eternity band.

A nice watch. Again, it does not need to a designer watch, but a watch that is styled nicely (diamonds optional) and could work with one’s jewelry (and lifestyle). A fave of mine is a yellow gold boyfriend watch by Coach (all of $265!).

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What do you look for in jewelry when you’re buying for your shop?
​I like pieces which are different, interesting, and unique. I like pieces with beautiful craftsmanship and those which clearly evoke the different eras – Deco, Victorian, Edwardian.

I love Art Deco, but there are just so many great antique looks that came out at different time periods that I know I can’t ever pick just one! Do you have a favorite era?
​See above! Art Deco has always been a big fave but Victorian pieces are creeping up to be a close second as I am wearing almost only yellow gold jewels lately.​

I have noticed a ton of rose cuts coming out of Jewels by Grace lately, and I know that they are pretty rare, as most people have never seen them in real life. Are they becoming more plentiful or are you just buying all of them?
​They have always been around but the recent surge in popularity, I would say, is due to jewelry designers using more and more of them in their designs. I have always loved rose cuts and buy them for my shop every chance I get!​

What was your original engagement ring?
A 1ct princess cut diamond in a half-bezel ring (hey, this was the early 90’s, ok?)​

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You are a female small business owner in a male-dominated industry, has that been difficult?
​Yes, in so many ways, this is still very much a male-dominated field! It has not always been easy to navigate the industry.

How did you get into the business? And what did you do before you opened JbG?
​I was in the professional services industry, a pencil pusher 🙂

The decision to get into the industry was not a conscious one. Many years ago, I decided to pare down my collection and started selling off pieces here and there. I met my previous business partner Erica when she bought her first diamond from me. We became fast friends via email, and after seeing an episode of Oprah one afternoon where she declared that we must all follow our bliss, I felt it was time! My friendship with Erica started at the perfect time, and after pooling our resources, Jewels by Erica Grace was born.

Was there a pivotal moment of transitioning into the industry full time?
​After we hit a certain sales milestone, we knew the business needed our full time attention. I would say that this really depends on the business owner – that sales target could vary wildly from one person to the next.​

How have your tastes have changed over the course of your job?
​I do not think that my tastes have changed much over the years, to be honest. More than anything, I rely on my aesthetics and instinct in picking and selecting jewels. A very prominent antique jeweler once told me that I had the eye for this job and I have never let myself forget that. In moments where I need clarity, I let my eyes guide me! It sounds pretty simple and that’s because it really, really is.

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What is your favorite piece that you currently have in your shop?
​I am very partial to twin stone rings so its only natural that I am totally in love with the 4.10tcw Victorian bypass ring! I love it so!​

Do you have any pieces that you wouldn’t ever sell?
I get very attached to personal pieces so once I declare them mine, its highly unlikely that I would ever want to part with them. Most of the pieces that you see on the Jewels by Grace home page (the slider pics) are personal pieces of mine – those would remain in my jewelry box, thank you very much!

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(Can I just take a minute to gawk over the beauty in the above photograph?! The ring and the photography are stellar!)

So, when are we going to go sing karaoke?
​Girl. These pipes were born ready. 🙂

I suggest you click on the following links, enjoy the amazing photos, and see if anything in particular catches your interest! And keep a watch on this woman – she is a force to be reckoned with, and has an eye for spectacular detail!

Jewels by Grace
Jewels by Grace SmugMug
Jewels by Grace Instagram
Jewels by Grace Facebook

Oh yeah, and go look at her brand spanking new Holiday Look Book!

Grace is in the middle of holding some giveaways over the holiday season. If you are her follower on Instagram, like her on Facebook or subscribe to her newsletters, you are entered to win one of her fantastic bracelets! They are similar to the ones below, but have colorless rose cut sapphires in them. If you haven’t already, please take a minute and go find her on social media for a chance to win a gorgeous piece of jewelry!

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Please note: All of the pictures used in this post have been used with permission of their owner, Grace Lavarro of Jewels by Grace, and are her property.

David Klass Contest Band Part 1

A while back I entered a contest for a band design being held by David Klass. There were two different categories, one that the David would pick, and one that was a “People’s Choice”. I didn’t win either category.

However, my design gathered so many votes that David offered to give me free CADs of my design.

The guidelines were:

1. Less than 5mm wide.
2. Stones: diamonds, sapphires (blue, pink or yellow), emeralds, rubies.
3. Up to 1ctw diamonds, 2.5ctw rubies, sapphires or emeralds.
4. Stone shape: rounds, baguettes, princess.
5. Common engraving or milgrain can be used.
6. Baguettes to be under 2x4mm and rounds and princesses were a maximum of 2mm

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a pastry chef. I always loved piping, although learning how to do it well was tedious to say the least. After a week of agonizing over what design to use, I went back to my roots, and drew my inspiration from my favorite piping pattern, the Reverse Shell. (The mistake on the left column in this example drives me batty every time I look at it! Obviously not my picture OR my piping work!)

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Obviously it’d be near impossible to clearly imitate the look of the frosting with metal and diamonds since you can’t make metal into a consistency able to be piped, so I played with the general concept a bit and came up with this:

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I waited so long to put the design together that I had to scramble in the last hours of the final day to finish it in time, typically I would try to do a rendering that was a bit more detailed. Luckily, the jeweler, David Klass (who needs to put up a website! You can find him on Facebook) was able to capture what I had in my head exactly, without being inside my head. His CAD rendering:

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When I first came up with the idea, I really wanted something that could be versatile for a lot of different people. So I wanted to stay well within the 5mm width range to allow for stacking, but also wanted enough presence that it could be a stand alone ring. My rendering had the final width being 3mm, but David’s CAD allowed for 3.5mm, which ends up being perfect. I figured that this design could be organic feeling, could be reminiscent of ocean waves or could just be used to add some texture and interest to a set. I wanted it to have a bright clean polish, but easily go with brushed instead for a matte look. And I wanted it to be adaptable to any color range. I think this band accomplishes many of those goals – the stones could easily be any color, and the metal could be white, yellow or rose to go with a person’s personal style, their other rings or just their whims.

I get the first band to be made from these CADs, and I’ve been deliberating for months on stone and metal color, as well as finish, the two biggest choices being between white gold and diamonds or yellow gold and yellow sapphires, but with a white/emerald, and a rose/pink sapphire option, it has made it a difficult choice indeed. As soon as it is completed (I need to make a decision!), there will be a follow up post!

Feature: Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry, Bonus!

So I took a ton of photos while I was at Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry , but some didn’t come out as well as I hoped. Here are a few pieces that I was able to take more than a couple seconds to get a quick snapshot.

I don’t typically love trillions for myself, but I thought this ring was really interesting and wonderful because of the flow of the design and the way it all melds together into one giant piece of stepcut and brilliant cut awesomeness. I love the graduation of the step cuts and how they mimic the lines of the trillion, giving the whole piece an Art Deco vibe.

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I don’t think this one really needs any commentary.

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I loved this little band, it really had some great details to it.

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I absolutely fell in love with this necklace. The larger of the two stones was a low colored diamond with the smallest table I have ever seen on an antique stone, and as a result was super fiery and all around fabulous. I thought it was the perfect size to be able to wear it on a daily basis and not have it be too overwhelming of a piece, easy to dress up and dress down. I believe the total weight on it between the two diamonds is around 1.1cts.

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And for the Grand Finale!

This is in the store window. It is almost 7cts of magnificent French Cut brilliance and it is one of the most fabulous items I have ever seen in real life (having been NYC and seen the Tiffany Diamond in all it’s glory, I think that’s probably a pretty big compliment!). This stone is interesting because a hole was drilled directly into the stone and a ring through it, to hang it on a chain. You don’t see this done a lot with diamonds, especially not of this size and cut. I am guessing it was done because of an inclusion, but obviously I was not the person to do it to the stone, so I can’t really say why it was done. I would like to see it on a different chain though, rather than this round diamond chain. I feel like such an amazing and expensive diamond should have a custom piece built around it.

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Next time, I’m going to have to set aside another hour, and I plan to try on everything that I saw in the front window. Ok, maybe I might need two hours…

Ok, that’s really it for my visit to Lang! Hope you enjoyed the pics, next time I’ll get video of the big french cut in action!

Gem Blast: Small Diamonds

Using the term “small” here is kind of facetious, being that the rounds aren’t exactly tiny, hovering just under the .30ct mark each, and are larger than some people’s engagement rings. The round stones are about 4mm each, antique cut, mostly Old European Cut diamonds, but with some early modern round brilliants as well. All seven of them end up totaling about 1.9ctw.

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Some people refer to these small square diamonds as being “square step cut” or “square baguettes” but I call them carre cut. They distinctly do not have cut corners or windmill type facets cut into the pavilion, and are actually quite simple in their cutting style. They are thought to be predecessor to the princess cut.

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I love sprinkling diamonds onto a surface and photographing them as they lay. I am not a diamond girl, even though I was born in April, and until recently stuck almost exclusively to colored gems. Recently I’ve come to realize that diamonds are nice too, just not nearly as brightly colored.

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I don’t actually have any kind of grading on these round cuts, and they are not perfectly matched, because if I wanted perfectly matched antique stones, I might die before finding them. But I think as far as color, clarity and size, they are well matched.

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The carre diamonds are around 2mm, and some are chipped, as you can kind of make out in the picture. They originally came from a yellow gold 1980s band, and were channel set, along with a lone princess. I imagine that a jeweler decided to replace a carre with a princess since carres are not exactly plentiful unless you know where to look. They total about .30ctw since they are so small. They have very flat crowns with large tables, and therefore face up large for their size.

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I have a love affair with step cuts, and I love the big flashy facets from OECs, so these two little parcels are some of my current favorite stones.

 

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Both sets of these stones will probably be going into bands at some point, but specific plans have not been made yet, just ideas floating around in my head for now!