Period Pieces Art Nouveau Jewelry

Period Pieces

Egyptian Revival Pin

November 4, 2019 1:38 pm
Estate Jewelry : Gold : Victorian

Egyptian Revival Pin

Victorian England.  High Society. The Grand Tour!

High-born young English gentlemen traveled.  And brought home souvenirs.  And sparked waves of popular design...fads, in a word.  It was the age of revivals.

Popular history says there were two waves of Egyptian Revival.  One occurred in the late 1900s after the opening of the Suez Canal. The other was sparked by the discovery and excavation of King Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Sphinxes, scarabs, lotus blossoms, falcons, vultures, serpents, hieroglyphs, ankhs, The Eye of Horus  adorned all manner of jewelry and home decoration.

In the late 1800s, Egyptian Revival jewelry seems to have been a discrete fashion.  In contrast, in the 1920s Art Deco jewelry designs owe much inspiration to the popularity of Egyptian motifs, even when the pieces are not overtly Egyptian.

This pin is a charming piece, with an opal flanked by birds. It is a small watch pin, very Victorian in size and function.  It would be a great addition to your collection.

In our catalog:

Diamond Art Deco Engagement Ring

August 11, 2019 5:03 pm
Estate Jewelry : Gold : Deco

Diamond Art Deco Engagement Ring

8 Things You Need to Know About Buying Gemstones/Jewelry

Blog post originally appeared on Jenny Andersen’s blog 8/10/19

1.         The Four Cs for buying diamonds are pretty well known by now, but just in case you missed the memo:

Carat    Size of the diamond by weight. Here’s a link to a great chart showing what different cuts and sizes look like: size chart. Just remember that size isn’t everything! Some people prefer a smaller, more sparkly (yeah, technical term) stone to a larger, duller one.

Color   Ideally, white diamonds are colorless. This is measured by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) on a scale of D to Z, D being colorless. Most people don’t detect faint amounts of color in a stone; the usual threshold of visibility is around K to L. Fancy Color diamonds are another matter.  The more color the better!

Cut       The amount of sparkle a cut stone has depends on the cut. Angles between facets and precise alignment of facet junctions can best be judged by a gemologist. Note that older/less modern cuts can be very charming, and really sparkly, especially in candlelight.

Clarity  Inclusions, cracks, feathers, the list goes on. If you can see stuff (another technical term) with your naked eye, you may want to move on to a better stone. Clarity is graded from Flawless (and really expensive) down to I3, which means not only can you see the problems, but they affect the integrity of the stone.

2.         Size matters. Some sizes are more popular and are priced accordingly, especially for diamonds.  For example, a one carat stone may cost more per carat than a stone that weighs 0.89 or 1.21 carats. (Numbers selected at random to illustrate smaller or larger.)

3.         These days, many—most?—stones on the market are treated in some way. It’s good to know what the treatment was, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t buy.  Reputable jewelers reveal treatments.

4.         To look more knowledgeable, hold a jeweler’s loupe, that funny little magnifier, close to your eye and move the stone closer until it’s in focus.

5.         ‘Peridot’ is pronounced ‘PERidoh’. Chalcedony is pronounced ’kalSEdony’.

6.         Identifying a stone by color is not reliable.

7.         The ‘big’ precious stones are diamond, ruby, emerald, and sapphire. Semiprecious stones are often gorgeous and much easier on the pocketbook. (Mostly.)

8.         Don’t try to fake knowledge you don’t have!

White Opal Necklace

September 22, 2017 7:01 pm
Estate Jewelry : Gold

White Opal Necklace

Opal is a birthstone for October.  (Time to get a birthday present, maybe?)

Technically, opal is not a mineral, but is referred to as a mineraloid because it does not have an ordered internal structure. Instead atoms in a regularly repeating lattice, opal is made up of spheres of silicon dioxide.  This does not mean it isn't valued and beautiful in jewelry!

The play of color in precious opal comes from the refraction of light from the spheres.  Precious opal has play of color and these stones can be classified by the color of the background:  black, white, and crystal (clear) are the most common terms.  Fire opals rarely have play of color but are a stunning orange color.  Other desirable opals that lack play of color can be green, rose, or yellow.

In our catalog:

Guilloché Enamel & Pearl Stickpin

September 20, 2017 6:20 pm
Estate Jewelry : Gold

Guilloché Enamel & Pearl Stickpin

Enameling in jewelry is basically the application of glass power which is then fused by heat to make a smooth, shiny, colored field or line on the piece.  There are many different styles of enamel work.  Three of the more common ones seen in antique European jewelry are:

Guilloche: (gee-oh-shay)  Transparent or translucent enamel is placed over metal that has often been enhanced with a pattern. The technique is commonly named "engine turned" for the mechanical cutting of lines on metal to create a design. Light reflects through the transparent enamel, highlighting the engraved pattern.

Champleve:  Channels are carved out of metal to make a well which is then filled with enamel. The partitions are part of the base and not applied on the surface.   French for “raised field” or “raised plain.”.

Plique a jour:  Aftern enameling, the metal backing is removed, leaving a delicate, translucent design that resembles stained glass.


Victorian Emerald Ring

September 16, 2017 3:24 pm
Estate Jewelry : Gold : Victorian

Victorian Emerald Ring

Different Ways To Set Gemstones

Gemstones are set into pieces of jewelry in many different ways, depending on the wear expected for the piece and the size and characteristics of the stone.  A few of the more common kinds of settings are:

Prong               This is the setting most commonly seen in engagement rings today.  A diamond is held in place by four (or more) metal prongs that grasp the stone and hold it in place.  There are many variations, most notably the Tiffany setting.

Bezel               The stone is wrapped with a thin strip of metal so that its edge is completely covered.

Gypsy              The stone is set completely within the metal of the jewelry, so that only the top is exposed.

Channel           Used for smaller stones, which are set girdle to girdle in a channel and held in place by metal covering a small part of the top.

Pavé                Small stones completely cover the piece of jewelry.  Each stone is held in place by small prongs, or beads of metal gathered from the surface.

This Victorian ring is gypsy-set with pearls and emeralds.

In our catalog: