Gem Blast: Vivant Earrings

If you follow me on social media, you’ve seen these earrings before. They have been all over Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Inspired by the Vivant necklace, I got the idea when I found these incredible step cut cushion Mahenge spinels, and had to put them together. I then paired them with a pair of Mahenge round brilliant spinels that I had purchased years ago, tweaked a few details to make the combination of stones work together and elongate the shape to flatter the wearer, and added a post back.

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Showing off a bit of their red fluorescence in the sun.

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Looking a bit blue, reflecting the sky in the stones.

Some of the finer details:

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Mahenge spinel, diamonds and 18kt white gold.
2.40ctw spinels, .30ctw diamonds, 2.70ctw total stone weight.

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Finding a pair of spinels is exceedingly difficult because the stones in general are so rare, but to find some that are the same color, size, shape and cut magnifies to difficulty level thousandfold. Finding two pairs that go together and match on color isn’t exactly easy either, and often is a matter of waiting until the right stone or stones comes around.

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Now, the next time you see them, they will be a bit different. A client took a liking to them, but wanted them changed just a touch, and asked me to make the alterations.  I can’t wait to see them when they are done!
Elle signature

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Jewelry Line Updates

I have been working madly on a variety of jewelry related and non-jewelry related issues, so I feel like many days have gone by where I haven’t been able to devote as much time as I wanted to to the things I really would like to spend my time on. One thing I have been working on is sketches and rendering, and naming said sketches, along with the pieces that go with them.

I have decided that my line of jewelry will first consist of several ring settings, and prototypes have been created or are currently being created for 5 settings. I would like to get three more settings into the queue for production, and then at least a three or four different bands.

So far only one band (non-stand alone) has been made into a prototype, and because the bands are after the ring settings in production, the band sketches have not been flowing as quickly as I’d like. I have another band that is more of a standalone band that has already been produced as a prototype.

I am most looking forward to the next phase of the jewelry line, the earring and necklace phase, in which I will debut earrings and necklace sketches that I have been working on for a very long time.

From there I would like to expand each of the lines, perhaps come up with some seasonal collections, one of a kind items and work on custom projects. I have a few ideas for some smaller rings that are less detailed and more in fashion with what I’m seeing out there right now.

The more movement I get in the etsy shop and on LoupeTroop, the more movement there will be towards developing my line of jewelry. I’m so excited and I can’t wait for more items to roll off of the production line! So far reviews have been very positive!

I wish I could share more images of my sketches, as I am quite proud of them, but I have copyright issues to contend with. As soon as I get to a more complete production line, I will start to debut them, one at a time. I’m hoping for late fall, or perhaps winter.

Here is one of my most “Marsala” gems, a precision cut spinel. I was hoping to set it for 2015, but it doesn’t look like that will work out. Marsala will still be en vogue next year, right?

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Diamond Rose Cuts

Since diamond is the birthstone for April, I’ll stick with writing about them for the most part this month. It really helps that I’ve been playing with them a lot lately in a variety of forms. So today I want to talk about a rarer form that diamonds take on: Rose Cut.

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I have to laugh because I asked a local jeweler once, maybe a year ago, if he could make me a rose cut band. He replied, wait for it, that he didn’t know what a rose cut was. I hope that now that they seem to be gaining more mainstream appeal that he figures out what they are. Tiffany is completely littered with rose cuts right now, in fact, they designed a whole collection around them. I haven’t been back to that jeweler since then, but that’s due to a combination of factors, not just rose cut ignorance.

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One thing to note about rose cuts in that the higher a crown is,  the better looking it’ll be. Rose cuts are basically shaped like a bubble, with a flat facet on the bottom, and facets going up to create a bit of a dome, typically a pretty flat dome.

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A key to rose cuts it to be realistic in what to expect from it’s performance. Rose cuts tend to flash light off of it’s surface facets, instead of refracting through the table and from the pavilion, because they don’t have a pavilion. So rose cuts tend to have little sparkle, and more of a mirror like appearance. You’ll often see rose cuts interspersed with brilliant cuts so you have a combination of the sparkle from the brilliant cuts and the light (and color!) moving across the surface of the rose cuts.

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Rose cuts are one of those things that you either love or hate. They are typically used as accents, rather than a center piece of a project, so finding large rose cut diamonds that are the main stone in a piece is pretty rare, although it’s becoming more and more common!

Here are a couple of rose cut pears, illustrating that they don’t just come in rounds, but also other fancy shapes such as pears, ovals, cushions, marquises, etc:

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One thing I’ve noticed about rose cuts lately is that people are just flipping over badly cut stones (typically very shallow stones) and calling it a rose cut when it’s really not, it’s just a badly cut stone. Classic rose cuts have a particular facet pattern, with a hexagon pattern on the top. There are currently several rose cut style patterns for gemstones being developed, most notably by Jeffrey Hunt and Doug Menadue of Bespoke Gems.

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Thanks to Jewels by Grace for letting me play with these beautiful little rose cut diamonds! They are spectacular and I want to keep them all!

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Pantone 2015: Marsala

Ok, Pantone, what happened? 2014 was Radiant Orchard. 2013 was Emerald. Why Marsala for 2015?

First off, Marsala is a fortified wine typically used in a chicken dish. So when I heard that “Marsala” was the color of 2015, I was like, “What?! What color is Marsala besides a brownish purple-red?”

Well, dear friends, I’m here to tell you that Marsala is indeed, a brownish purplish red.

Now, it’s certainly not that I have something against the wine. It’s the color. As a gemstone enthusiast, I’m typically eyeing the vivid jewel tones, or the softer pastel shades. Adding brown to any gemstone is absolutely against all of my gemstone picking instincts. It’s a great color for makeup, with eye shadow, blush, lipstick, and nail polish, but for gems?

So where do we go in the Year of Marsala with gemstones? Spinel? Tourmaline? Garnets? Sapphire? Zircon?

I have a spinel and a sapphire that are sort of Marsala colored, depending on the light…but I’m just so unenthusiastic about this color of the year. Way to let me down Pantone!

For the all important eye candy, here’s a 4+ct sapphire that is sort of Marsala colored, and one of the most color shifty sapphires I’ve ever seen. Orange-brown, peachy purple-pink with a vibrant surprise color. Since it’s so all over the place, I figure at least one of it’s random shades could probably pass for “Marsala”. Right?

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Don’t let the above photos fool you though – they were taken in very specific lighting conditions.

In other very specific lighting conditions, it goes hot pink, lighter pink and a dusky purple.

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Yes, all the pictures above really are the same stone. From a brownish-orange to purple-pink to bright pink, it’s the closest thing I have to Marsala. The entertaining part about this sapphire is that it goes it’s least attractive (but most interesting!) color in daylight – the lighting situation that is typically the most flattering for other gemstones.

I know that I’m clearly not the only jewelry person scratching their head about how to work Marsala into 2015.  Or you know, counting down the days to see what 2016 brings and hoping that it’s something more jewelry friendly!

Sentimental Mismatched Spinel Earrings

Once upon a time, I found a list of jewelry/gemstone gifts that were to be given at anniversaries. Well, my husband being as awesome as he is, decided to follow that list, and as a result, I found myself looking at a gold present for my first anniversary.  So I found some antique cushion cut diamonds that were not particularly well matched at all, but roughly 4x5mm, and had some custom stud earring settings built around them.

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Years later I decided to reuse the diamonds and add them to a ring, leaving the settings open for new stones. So I went to my favorite gemstone store with my favorite jewelry maker, Erin at http://www.willajunejewelry.com/ and picked out a pair of 4x5mm oval spinels to go in the settings.  But they don’t match.

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When I was about 13, my best friend and I went and picked out earrings, and the ones that we liked the most ended up being mismatched singles, but we were cool and according to fashion at the time, mismatched was cool. So we bought some mismatched earrings. Mine were studs, a small blue-gray glass ball and a round ceramic stud with a tiny ocean wave painted on it.

 

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So my mismatched spinels are reminiscent of that childhood experience, since the original mismatched earrings are long gone. One stone is a more silvery blue, while the other is a grapey-purple. These pictures were taken at night using a macro lens, so the lighting leaves something to be desired, but you get a pretty good idea of what they look like.

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Anyway, I hope that my daughter enjoys them, as I wanted to make sure that the gold settings were kept in their original form, since they were such a sentimental gift at the beginning of our marriage.

In other news, I just returned from a trip to San Francisco, and managed to fit a trip to http://www.langantiques.com/ and I took lots and lots of pictures. I haven’t even managed to go through them yet, so you can look for an upcoming feature on my experiences there and some of the pieces I got to look at.