I heard first seen and fallen in love with the creations by The Gemstone Project in 2016, while looking for unique pieces for my personal jewellery collection.I really enjoyed that even my casual questioning and interest was met with positivity and genuine responses. As an Etsy favourite, when one of the listings jumped out at me, I sent the link to my partner, just stating that I found the ring I wanted.He immediately inquired as to the possibility of having a ring resized and sent to us in Australia. Elle made it a very simple and comfortable process for him to get my correct ring size, and the ring arrived much faster than anyone expected.The fit of the ring is perfect, it’s almost weightless and extremely comfortable. Well my newly minted fiance kept frantically checking that it was still on my hand, but I was 100% certain that it wouldn’t fall off accidentally.The quality of the piece is unmatched, I have had endless compliments on the colour and cut of the stone as well as remarks on the ingenuity of the secret diamonds on the sides. All of my close friends and family members have remarked that it is very much suited to me, as well as the fact that it is very unique.I have no hesitations in asking Elle to craft matching wedding and eternity rings. – B & S
Engagement: Alli & Doug
I’m still not really sure how Alli and Doug found me, but they did and I’m absolutely delighted that they did. Otherwise I wouldn’t have had a part in this gorgeous ring, which would have been terrible.
Back in the Fall of 2016, Alli and Doug reached out and asked if I would be interested in making their engagement ring. They had bought a gray spinel, and had several items of family jewelry that they wanted to use the stones from. If you’ve followed me at all, you already know how into an idea I am if it has a gray spinel attached to it. But I was intrigued both by the couple and their design ideas, as well as the center stone!
They expressed later to me how difficult it had been to find a jeweler to execute their vision for their ring, and I can sort of understand why because it’s not conventional, and there really aren’t that many jewelers who are willing or want to take on an unusual request. Especially for a gemstone. I am honored to be asked to create this beauty for such a special sentimental ring!
So they sent along some guides as to what they wanted their ring to look like, with some examples of each one, and we went back and forth on lots of the details for a long time, trying to iron out each element.
They wanted the gray spinel to take main stage from top down, and not have any of the accent stones visible from the top down. They wanted double prongs (which is always a stability concern for me with cushion cut gems! Double prongs are always best for cushions!) and an antique feel.
They wanted engraving, pretty much all over. They wanted Alexandrite accent stones in various places on the profile. They wanted diamond accents in other places. They wanted to use diamonds from an antique family ring. They wanted it to have the feel of an antique.
Luckily their requests came with a stone that was large enough that we could add a lot of detail and still manage to hide everything under the stone.
I had to play with proportions of everything, but at one point, everything just flowed together with all of the inspiration photos they had given me, every element that they had asked for, and my own little flourishes.
They had me add their birthstones, an amethyst and a garnet plus an alexandrite into the shank, against her skin.
A view of the tucked under family diamond, detailed with accents inspired by a 1950s birthstone ring that belonged to my mother. This shows it alongside a gray gold Accolade band.
A bit of an idea of what it looks like on the hand with a quick handshot from yours truly!
One of my flourishes, and Alli and Doug still don’t know this, is that when I was thinking about the project, I was strongly inspired by Alli and felt that she had a certain kinship with Wonder Woman. As a result, I mimicked Wonder Woman’s tiara shape in the profile of Alli’s ring, which you can see best when it’s upside down. Alli is an athlete and a dentist (technically a prosthedontist) and those are just the tips of the iceberg when it comes to describing how gifted this woman is!
I love how this ring looks slightly different from every angle.
A closer look at the family diamond we bezel set on the shoulders of the ring.
You know I cannot resist a gray spinel, especially a giant one like this! Once Alli saw that I had started to offer gray gold as an alternative to the traditional white, she jumped on the bandwagon immediately, and I think it came out incredibly well, and suits the stone perfectly.
And to finish off, a couple macro photos on an antique beaded purse. When Doug surprised Alli with the ring, he turned off all of the lights because I had sent it in a ring box with a light in it, and she was really confused why he was turning the lights off, until he opened the box!
When the ring was completed, I emailed Doug, and I told him that if he trusted me, he should just let me send the ring, and forgo seeing pictures of it beforehand. He did, and this blog entry would be the first time he would see the photos I had taken!
Doug & Alli, it was my utmost pleasure to work with you and I hope that we can work together again in the future! Enjoy that stunner of a ring and congratulations again on sharing your life with each other!
Roughly ten years ago I started to take my obsession with jewelry and gemstones a bit more seriously by starting to actively research and reading everything I could find online. It turns out that over ten years, things can evolve and change quite a bit.
I had a guest blogger who wrote about her collection and how it evolved over time, but I have not really addressed those kinds of questions myself, even though they keep coming up. So here are some answers to questions I get regularly!
What do you keep?
I keep almost exclusively sentimental pieces. At this point in my life, a stone has to be really outstanding to catch my eye, much less make me want to keep it in my personal collection. I have cultivated almost a rainbow of rings with pinks, peach, green, blue, violet and purple playing the major roles.
A padparadscha sapphire in the Aurore, an anniversary gift from my husband.
What you sell and why?
I usually do not sell anything from my personal collection. The only time I might sell something from my personal collection is if something else is replacing it. Also, if I’m selling something from my personal collection, you can bet that it doesn’t have any sentimental value attached to it. If my husband or daughter had any input in it, it’s going to stay in my personal collection. The pink spinel Vivant ring is the perfect example – the diamond sides were originally purchased as my first pair of diamond studs by my husband. They were used in another ring before being set into this ring. I cannot count how many times I’ve been asked to sell that ring, but I won’t!
These diamonds were an anniversary gift from my husband.
Do you buy less expensive things as time goes on?
No. If anything, I’ve bought more expensive things. I will pick up things here and there if I find them to be a good deal, but if I’m adding it to my personal collection, at this point, it’s got to be larger or “better” in some way than what I have already. Since many of those items were bought quite some time ago, odds are very good that the market has gone up since then, almost universally.
This flawless Mint Merelani Garnet was given to me as a 30th birthday present.
Or fewer, more expensive pieces?
What is kind of interesting is that I’ve been able to make more items that could potentially stay in my personal collection as prototypes than I was previously able to. At some point, I have to make a decision as to whether I am ok with selling them or keeping them in my collection. So I’ve been making more pieces, and they end up being more expensive. I think though, if I wasn’t designing jewelry and therefore unable to justify them as prototypes, I’d be putting together fewer, more expensive pieces.
The blue spinel in the Petiller was a wedding gift from my father, and every diamond in the Privé band was from a different occasion – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthday, etc.
Or some other philosophy?
I guess I kind of collect everything now!
A collection picture from 2013, before I started designing everything.
How your settings have changed?
I started out being totally adverse to diamonds. As you’ll see in the settings that are coming up, diamonds play a pretty big part in it. So I’ve totally reversed my position on that end of things! But while there has been the addition of diamond accents, I’ve make an effort to simplify some of the blingier settings. That has not held true in every situation, as you’ll soon see when my next settings come out!
This Colombian emerald was the last gem that really caught my attention. I couldn’t resist that color!
Have you gotten more subtle with age or more blingy?
Both. I think that both have a place in any collection. I have plain solitaires, and plain bands with no accents, and then I have settings that are crusted with diamonds. Different moods call for different types of jewelry and I like that my jewelry box can accommodate just about any occasion.
This Accolade band was made with spinels that my husband helped me pick out when he was just my boyfriend.
What has changed the most in your collection?
I’ve actually tasted a little bit of antique jewelry. My most recent addition to my personal collection was an onyx, diamond, platinum and gold French ring from 1910, and I’m totally enamored with the craftsmanship and the detail work. Before, I never would have given most antique jewelry a second glance!
The Résilient in Photographs
I’m doing a photo heavy and commentary light post because I have too much on my to do list, but I still wanted to share the beauty of this ring with you, and I haven’t been able to put a blog out about it yet.
The center stone is a Amora Moissanite cut into the OEC pattern, and all of the other stones are diamonds. The Amora Moissanite has been discontinued, which, after seeing it in person, is a real shame. They have replaced it with the Forever One Moissanite, and the OEC cutting is also nowhere to be found.
Sometimes, through great times of turmoil, comes great beauty.
The Rose Cut
I have a serious crush on rose cuts. But if you’ve been following any of my media for any period of time, you’ll have noticed this. There are rose cuts in two of my necklace designs, with the Ingenue being primarily based around the rose cut, they feature prominently in my Pétiller profile, and have even made an appearance in some of my custom designs. If they were easy to find, and I had unlimited funds, ALL OF THE ROSE CUTS WOULD BE MINE. Ok, so that’s not necessarily true, but I do love them, and I wish I could buy a lot more than I do.
So the reason I’m writing about this today is because I’m a bit neurotic. Recently a client of mine bought some “hexagon rose cuts”, and she asked me why when I said they weren’t rose cuts. So this is a bit of an analysis of what a rose cut is, using the hexagon diamonds as an example of how to discern what isn’t a rose cut, and what is just a fancy marketing gimmick.
A lot of what designates a rose cut is the intent of the cutter.
Did the cutter intend for it to be traditionally cut, and the stone wasn’t shaped well? Or did the cutter actually intend to cut a rose cut?
Facet Diagrams & Facet Structure
Rose cuts were often used as accent stones in antique jewelry. They have a simplistic cut that is a flattish dome, with triangular facets arranged in a hexagonal pattern, with a point on top. There is not a flat table facet on top of the stone, and there is no pavilion, the way Old European Cut or Modern Round Brilliants are cut. Rose cuts are typically round, but can be found in other shapes, such as pear, cushion, oval, etc.
I am particularly strict in my evaluation of rose cut diamonds, and I insist that they have the equiangular triangled hexagon on top. Sometimes, especially with modern cut specialty shaped rose cuts, the hexagon will be elongated to mimic the outline of the stone. Like this modern cut pear:
It’s still a rose cut, but the facet structure is a clue that it’s not antique!
Lack of a Pavilion
It’s easy to get confused with terminology for rose cuts, since they don’t follow the same cutting guidelines as traditionally cut stones. I tend to think of them as a traditionally cut stone that has had the pavilion cut off at the girdle, but with a point on the table instead of the table being flat.
One of my very first gemstones was a peach spinel that had a rose cut table and crown, but with a traditional pavilion. Sometimes I miss that stone!
Faux Rose Cuts
Now, one of my biggest pet peeves has been popping up more and more lately and that’s taking a poorly, but traditionally cut stone (with a table, pavilion, culet, etc), flipping it over so it’s culet and pavilion face up with the table facing down, and calling that a rose cut. It is not a rose cut. You can determine these stones by looking at the facet structure, and seeing whether or not it is totally flat on the flat side, if it has a crown, and if the facets are almost equiangular AND triangular. Here is a helpful diagram to help illustrate the anatomy of a traditionally cut stone can look like.
You can see a comparison between the hexagonal traditional cut on the left, and the classic rose cut on the right. I can tell a few things from the hexagonal stone about the rough – the stone wasn’t deep enough to cut it to ideal specifications and have optimal light return when it’s table up. So in a clever marketing move, they flipped it over and marketed it as a “hexagonal rose cut”.
With these hexagonal stones, they were not originally intended to be rose cuts, and that is obvious once you take a closer look at the pavilion facets:
They have the equiangular center facets, but if you look closer, the facets that aren’t in the center are trapezoidal in shape, rather than triangular.
Interestingly, when I flip the stones over, and have the table/flat side up, you can see the huge difference, and clearly discern what the original intent of the cutter was. The hexagons show light return bouncing off the pavilions, minus the windowing in the middle, while the rose cut is essentially transparent:
Double Sided Rose Cut
Double sided rose cuts are very rare, and are often given different names, depending on the knowledge of the seller or owner. As you can see from the diagrams above, they are structured as if two rose cuts were put flat side against flat side.
Rose cuts come in all different flavors, and they’ve been enjoying a sort of resurgence into popularity with celebrity interest in them as well as antique jewelry coming back into fashion. You can expect to see more from me as well, but that is mostly due to my everlasting love for them, rather than following the trends!
Side note: Thanks to Jennifer Aniston for giving the rest of us some giant rose cut goodness to ogle when she’s out and about. (Yes, her engagement ring is a giant rose cut diamond!)
Updates and an Announcement
I feel like it’s been a while since I blogged. And there are a lot of good reasons for that. But I’ll get to that in a bit.
I recently nabbed a trio of gray spinel asschers. I’m thinking about making a three stone with them, if they match well enough and look good together. I will see once they arrive! If I don’t love them together, they will probably go into the etsy shop.
I did several earring design sketches for a client, and I’m considering turning some of the unused ones into designs to go into the etsy shop. Especially since I have a ton of green garnets that really should be used for something fabulous.
Upcoming projects: a necklace for a friend, a Rubellite ring, a smattering of three stone rings, a five stone ring, a couple of fancy halos, and a handful of solitaire rings. Plus who knows what else will pop up in the next few weeks. I have several ideas for necklaces that I’d like to make, but those may take a while to bring into fruition.
The biggest announcement is that I have taken an outside opportunity, and as a result, I won’t be able to devote as much time as I have been to my own jewelry design. There won’t be a ton of changes that stem from this change, my website will stay the same, my stock designs will remain available, the Etsy shop will remain open, and I will still be available to do custom design.
The big changes are going to be: I won’t be able to devote as much time to hunting down gemstones and I’m going to have to be stricter about custom projects that I take on. I will still have accounts with Gem2000, Mayer & Watt and Pala International/Gems, and their stones will be available for purchase through me. Shipping will only happen once a week, probably Mondays or Tuesdays. Unfortunately, blogging will have to take more of a backseat, and will likely turn into a once a month occurrence. I will still try to respond to emails within 24 hours, but I may not be as swift as I was before.
Gem Blast: Holiday Edition
It has been a crazy week, with a family birthday plus Thanksgiving and then ten completed projects when I was expecting 5, plus a bunch of gems. I have more on the way, and with the holidays gearing up, things are just bound to get crazier!
So this week, I’m just going to post a handful of my favorite pictures that I’ve been taking in the past couple of weeks! Some of this will be a preview for new items to come – some will probably hit etsy before they get to the website, due to holiday shopping demands
Be on the lookout for new things to come! For additional pictures of some of these pieces, check out my Repertoire page. And don’t forget to check out Facebook for all of my etsy promo codes.(Hint: there is one for today! After all, it’s Cyber Monday!)
2016 Holiday Deadlines
I posted the holiday deadlines to my Facebook page but I figured they should be posted here as well to make sure that no one misses them!
Custom jewelry: November 1st
Stock design: November 23rd
In store item: December 19th
In store item with expedited shipping: December 21th
I live in a small town, and unfortunately USPS cannot guarantee overnight delivery from where I’m located! I do have access to a UPS office, but no FedEx.
There may be some slight flexibility in these, but that would be on a case by case basis! Please contact us directly for details!
Also, this is the last week for our fall sale (15% off!) in the etsy shop! Don’t miss out! The coupon code can be found on the Facebook page!
And because I can’t stop posting photos of this everywhere, here is the newest version of the Intrepide! My client’s 4.42ct Mahenge Spinel that she has been holding into for 5 years (!) looks fantastic in it’s new home!
Whoa! Gemstones ahoy!
I got a couple of packages from a couple of collectors looking to consign items, and there are some really awesome gems, and a couple of finished jewelry pieces.
Some of the stand outs include:
40+ carats of green garnets: tsavorite, demantoid, mint, including melee!
2+ carat blue spinel pear
1.89 carat neon pink spinel
6+ carat blue zircon
Light teal-blue tourmaline
Pink Vietnamese spinel
Handful of diamonds, rounds and cushions
Precision cut Mahenge garnets
Also expected this week, a precision cut gray spinel antique cushion with a certification from AGL.
And I still have more incoming in the next couple weeks!
All of these will be listed to my etsy shop in the coming weeks, while I’m hoping to have everything up by Thanksgiving, but that just depends on how things go, and how much sun I get for photographs! If you are looking for anything in particular or if any of the above sound interesting, please reach out to be added to the interest list!
If you haven’t found my coupon code on my Facebook page yet, you should go check it out because it expires October 31!
Also I have accounts with some wholesale dealers, so if you’re looking for anything in particular, let me know!
We are getting very close to the holiday season. I will be releasing deadlines for holiday ordering within the next week – where has this year gone?! I cannot believe the holiday season is upon us!
So many custom projects going into production right now, I am so excited to see them come to fruition!
Creating the Ingénue
Ingénue – Innocent young woman
When this idea came to me, I really wanted to create something that was classic, could be worn with anything, and wasn’t overpowering to either the woman or the gems. I wanted simplicity that was more than just a solitaire. The name of this game was subtlety. Something quiet. Graceful. Sophisticated.
I started with a two stone idea. A smaller stone “bale” with a larger stone hanging below.
The first version I pulled out for this idea was with an angular stone. I had a small princess lying around, so I thought that would work well and go with the angular shape of the stone I was considering. But the main stone ended up selling out from under me, so I had to change gears.
I decided that classic rounds would be the way to go – rounds are the most popular shape, they would always be plentiful and I’d have no problems sourcing some when I was ready to make the design.
So of course, I always jump at any chance to make something with rose cut diamonds, and in this case, anything else would have been too flashy. I love the way the light floats across the facets of a rose cut – it’s reminiscent of the light from the setting sun hitting the soft waves of a lake. For the rose cut, I decided that a simple bezel with milgrain would do nicely.
The bottom was harder. I started playing with the idea of another metal halo style, because I didn’t want diamonds. Since I had already decided I wanted a bezel on top, a bezel seemed to make sense for the bottom. But that would be too predictable. Instead I went in another direction: prongs. It became a metal halo with prongs, much like the Aurore. But how do you make a metal halo interesting? Metalwork. Two rows of milgrain combined with some delicate engraving helps add a little extra detail without being too overwhelming.
Note: I never draw engraving. I cannot do justice to a master engraver’s work. Seriously. So I don’t even try.
Now the question became, what to do with the back? I always try to get something a little unexpected in my jewelry, and the back, or the underside are the perfect playground. For this I went back to where it began – the rose cut. And I used the rose cut facet pattern that I love so much and brought it to life in the metal.
The hardest part yet was figuring out what stone to be the star of the show. As I mentioned, I originally was planning on making it with a fancy shaped diamond (this design will work for absolutely any shape!) but that fell through. Then I figured I’d make it with a round diamond, but that seemed predictable – there are so many diamond necklaces out there already! And for a person who loves other gemstones I wanted something that was more interesting and rare. Something that fit the classic look and feel but wasn’t a diamond.
Which is where Geoffrey Watt of Mayer & Watt steps in. I had asked him to find me a white spinel at JCK 2016, since I wasn’t going to make it this year. He obliged, and I found my main stone. Not long after, the sketch was complete.
It wasn’t until the necklace was out of production that I realized that I wasn’t feeling the high polish. I tend to try to avoid brushed finishes because they can wear away so quickly, but for a necklace that wouldn’t be coming into contact with anything but skin, it made sense.
I think I accomplished my goal. Classic, versatile, sophisticated with a vintage feel. Something that be dressed up or down. The Ingénue.