“En Tremblent” Antique Pin

En Tremblant Antique Pin

In spite of all the prim and proper societal rules imposed upon them, even Victorian women craved a touch of feminine seduction in their jewelry pieces. Discover how en tremblent antique pins like this one allowed them to subtly achieve that.

From the French meaning “to tremble,” en tremblent Victorian jewelry like this Edwardian antique pin that is shaped like a bow was designed to tremble when the wearer of it moved. For Victorian era women, whose bodies were sheathed from neck to toe in clothing, most en tremblent pieces were brooches. That way, they could be pinned atop proper ladies’ many layers at the breast to generate movement as they breathed.

To create this subtle motion, tiny springs were built into the Victorian jewelry piece, with diamonds making a frequent appearance. A diamond’s ability to capture light from all angles added to the trembling movement effect.

A technique almost exclusive to the 18th and 19th centuries, en tremblent is rarely seen outside of the antique pins of the Victorian jewelry era. In a 2004 episode, PBS’s popular “Antiques Roadshow” appraised an 1810s Diamond Pin En Tremblant at $25,000 to $35,000. Because the springs in these antique pins are so delicate, finding one whose en tremblent elements still move as intended, like the ribbon steamers of this bow-shaped antique pin, adds significantly to its value.

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Diamond and Gemstone Trend: Color, Color Everywhere

When it comes to jewelry stones, diamonds and gemstones are sharing the industry’s newest and biggest trend. Colored diamonds and gemstones are not only popping up all over jewelry shows and jewelry auctions; they’re also fetching record prices.

Diamonds are still a girl’s best friend—and that’s probably a longstanding jewelry trend that is here to stay. But the types of diamonds girls are calling their BFFs these days are different from those that caught Marilyn Monroe’s fancy. When it comes to today’s diamond confidantes, it’s all about color, and the demand for these intensely hued stones is being reflected in their price tags.

An eye-opening example of this inflation recently revealed itself at the Christie’s Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels sale. There, “the largest round fancy intense pink diamond to ever appear at auction sold for $17.4 million,” or almost $1.5 million per carat, Forbes reported last month. This record-setting Harry Winston ultra-pink and ultra-rare diamond weighed in at 12 carats and was mounted in an 18k yellow gold, size 7 setting.

Of note is the diamond’s nickname, a decidedly not-so-feminine “Martian Pink.” The unusual moniker, however, only adds to the stone’s intrigue. It pays homage to the U.S.’s launching of The Viking Landers satellite mission to Mars, which took place the year the diamond was purchased from Harry Winston: 1976.

In contrast, the highest-priced clear diamonds to sell at the same sale was “a pair of brilliant-cut unmounted diamonds, weighing 10.88 and 10.88 carats,” which combined sold for $4.8 million. “Both diamonds are of D color, flawless clarity, with excellent cut, polish and symmetry,” Forbes described. That figure represented a per-carat price tag of $220,588.

Interestingly enough, a non-diamond outperformed this second-place diamond finisher in the per-carat department. “A 6.04-carat ‘pigeon’s blood red’ Burmese ruby and diamond ring by Etcetera sold for $3.4 million … setting a world record price of $551,000 per carat.” In the process, it reinforced that the color stone trend is extending beyond merely diamonds.

Lest jewelry lovers think the Christie’s auction was just a fluke, colored diamonds drew increased attention at this year’s Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show as well. The pink diamonds collectors are willing to pay top dollar for were well-represented at the four-day event, as were yellow and blue diamonds.

One exhibitor cited in an article about the exhibition on InStoreMag.com explained the influx of colored diamonds this way: “People want color all of a sudden … where everything was monochromatic before.”

Among the diamonds featured at the show were antique and vintage ones “from periods ranging from Renaissance, Baroque and Edwardian to Modern and Art Deco.” Another exhibitor grouped the color and antique yens found there under the same umbrella. “People want something that is a little bit different, that is interesting.”

And as triumvirate proof of the colored diamond trend, in covering the recent Christie’s Paris auction, Jewelry News Network reported that “a 26.10-carat round brilliant cut yellow diamond and platinum ring” was the auction’s top seller … fetching $623,000.” Yellow diamond and platinum ring

See the ring details here :

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Victorian Swag and Floral Antique Necklace

Victorian Antique Necklace

Discover the connections our Victorian swag and floral antique necklace shares with recent 2012 Kentucky Derby winner, I’ll Have Another.

Horseshoes, like the one you’ll find peeking out of this necklace’s floral swag, have long been a symbol of good luck. English, Scottish and Moorish legends hold horseshoes in high esteem for their ability to protect against evil. And nowhere are horseshoes more prevalent than at horse farms and racetracks like Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where the Kentucky Derby is run each May. Indeed, every year the thoroughbred who takes the crown that known as “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” is presented with a garland of roses. As a result, the Kentucky Derby has been affectionately dubbed “The Race for the Roses.” The 2012 first-place finisher will be graced with a garland weighing around 40 pounds and containing more than 400 roses. Prior to 1932, however, the Derby winner was presented with a horseshoe-shaped wreath of roses very much resembling the Victorian one featured in this necklace.

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Carnelian Cameo Antique Ring

Carnelian Cameo Antique Ring

Carnelian Cameo Antique Ring

The spirit of an ancient warrior will protect you with this carnelian cameo antique ring. Learn why the ancient Egyptians deemed the gemstones in it so valuable that they painstakingly hid them where they wouldn’t be found for millennia.

Archaeologists working in Israel recently unearthed an unexpected discovery: a cache of jewelry dating from about 11 BC, the “LA Times” reported earlier this month. Among the treasures, which were tucked inside a jug that had been hidden in a private dwelling, were beads made of carnelian stone. Literally translating to “flesh-colored,” carnelians range in color from light orange to fiery reddish brown as exhibited in this ring’s gemstone. Despite their often ‘bloody’ coloration, according to legend carnelians make the soul joyous, which might account for the ancient Egyptians in Israel hiding them to keep them safe. This ring’s carnelian is further enhanced with the carving of an ancient warrior. Cameos like this one are reflective of history, literature and legends. Who this warrior actually depicts, only the carver knows for sure, but the carnelian’s beauty inspired the carver to preserve the profile in stone for eternity.

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Jacques Roisen, A Diamond Legend

Late last month, the diamond world lost one of its truest legends. On May 26th, 2012, Jacques Roisen passed away at the age of 91 in New York. Roisen’s contributions to the diamond industry read like a genuine who’s who, but perhaps the one of which he is proudest is that he served as an esteemed member of the 24 Karat Club.

The mission of the 24 Karat Club is to foster the interests of the jewelry industry by forming a fellowship uniting men and women within the industry and kindred trades in the belief and practice that the greatest values are to be found in raising the quality of human relationships. Having fled to the United States from Europe during World War II, Roisen recognized the full pricelessness of such relationships.

Beyond that, his resume includes impressive stints as president of both the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America (DMIA), the leading organization of America’s premier diamond manufacturers, importers, and dealers, and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), which is committed to fostering and promoting the highest ideals of honesty and best practice principles throughout the diamond industry worldwide. In his lifetime, both associations honored Roisen with an honorary life president designation. In addition, he served as co-chair of the Diamond Industry Steering Committee (DISC).

In the early 1920s, when Roisen was born in Antwerp, Belgium, the Art Deco style of jewelry was quickly becoming all the rage in the U.S. During this decade, which would come to be called “The Roaring Twenties,” society railed against not only the strict Victorian taboos that had been forced upon them but also prohibition.

The free living and decadence that resulted from such rebellion filtered into the Art Deco jewelry style, whose hallmarks were geometry, symmetry, and boldness of design and color. It is during this timeframe that diamonds first appeared in the never-before-seen emerald, pear, and marquise cuts that are so popular today.

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Gemstones—What’s Their Story?

That gemstone jewelry piece you have just added to your collection will go on to hold many stories … about your life, your loves, your joys and sorrows—all the things that make you a unique human being. And while you may think about all these pivotal moments when you look at it, what you may not contemplate is that the gem already has a story all its own.

Topazery recently sat down with one of our gemstone suppliers, Tim Roark of Tim Roark, Inc., to discuss the long, and often exotic, journey a gemstone makes before it ends up in a ring, pendant, bracelet or earring. Tim is our go-to source for many of the blue sapphires we use in our exclusive Topazery collection of jewelry, but he travels the world in search of beautiful gemstones.

Antique Style Sapphire Engagement Ring

Typically he buys his gems in rough form and then has them cut so that they end up with the best proportions to show off their assets to perfection. So something that starts off, to the untrained eye, as an ordinary rock that might get tossed out of the way in a garden is shaped and polished into an exquisite gemstone.

Tim also likes to buy his gems directly from the source as much as possible. That has led him to some of the earth’s most beautiful foreign locales. A recent trip took him into Burma and past the house of Aung San Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Burma. When Topazery caught up with him, he had just returned from the east coast of Africa, where he had visited Kenya and Tanzania.

That’s right. That ruby or emerald that centerpieces your favorite ring may have rubbed shoulders (or more appropriately hooves) with African elephants and giraffes out on the savannah.

Vintage Emerald Ring

Kenya and Tanzania reportedly harbor some of the world’s richest deposits of vividly colored gemstones, which National Jeweler recently singled out as a spring jewelry trend. When asked what he thought of this prediction, Tim took the stance that it’s classic beauty that never goes out of style.

“They are tying fashion colors into jewelry but that doesn’t mean there is a huge move toward these fashion-colored gemstones,” he points out. “Jewelry is much more expensive than clothing,” so discerning jewelry lovers aren’t going to rush to add a piece to their collection that might very well be passé next season.

So where does he see trends that make certain gemstone deserving of a second look? “There is a lot more demand for gemstones, especially in China, than there used to be so prices have gone up.” Tourmaline, in particular, is drawing increased interest in China, where it is considered good luck. Ruby and Jade have also increased in value due to recent demand in China. China’s demand for all commodities has raised prices world-wide.

Antique Ruby Ring

An antique piece featuring any of these gemstones might therefore be a good buy for individuals who are looking for their purchase to increase in value. But the real personal value of any gem still comes from its story.

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Vintage and Antique Engagement Rings Earth Day Friendly

When the euphoria of being madly in love enters the picture, concern for the environment is usually the last thing on couples’ minds. But as Earth Day 2012 approaches, it’s important to point out that the grandest of romantic gestures doesn’t have to be an eco-unfriendly one. Choosing a vintage or antique engagement ring over a new one can not only heighten the romanticism. It can also eliminate the harmful impact gold mining and diamond mining have on the earth.

Mother Nature Network recently singled out vintage and antique jewelry shops as one of the ways any wedding can be made greener. That is because choosing antique rings “helps with some of the dangerous manufacturing processes of gold.” An article in the “New York Times” a few years back titled “With This Ethical Ring I Thee Wed” highlighted some of these dangers.

Pointing out that “80 percent of all the gold mined today is fabricated into jewelry,” the article enumerated the gold-mining Earth Day–unfriendly impacts of what is unaffectionately referred to as “dirty gold”:

1. The use of cyanide “to retrieve the metal from base rock, which can pollute water and lead to the release of other pollutants like mercury”
2. Displacement of indigenous peoples to get at the profitable gold at all costs
3. Rock waste, 30 tons of which are “often needed to produce a single gold ring”

But gold isn’t the only material that makes an antique or vintage engagement ring a better choice for environmentally-conscious couples. With an estimated 80 percent of American brides receiving a diamond engagement ring prior to their nuptials, diamond mining enters into the equation as well.

According to the World Diamond Council, unregulated diamond digging can harm the environment in the following ways:

1. Land disturbance – “Diamond mining uses a variety of methods, some of which involve the removal of large quantities of soil from the earth.”
2. Energy use and emissions – The carbon emissions that are a byproduct of diamond mining “are considered to be a major factor in global warming and climate change,” both vital environmental concerns this Earth Day.
3. Waste and recycling – Waste produced by mines “can include oil, paper, scrap metal, batteries, tires and small quantities of plastic and glass.”
4. Use of water –¬ “Diamond mining uses water, rather than chemicals, for extraction,” making “it even more important that the diamond mining process does not pollute natural water sources and that it uses as little [water] as possible.”
5. Impact on Biodiversity – Diamond mining occurs in diverse places around the globe, disrupting delicate ecosystems in the process.

Because the gold and diamonds in vintage and diamond engagement rings were mined long ago, no additional impact is made on the earth by grooms-to-be who buy them and brides-to-be who wear them. As a result, they align with Earth Day’s agenda of protecting and preserving the environment.

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Top 10 Comments an Inexperienced Antique Jewelry Appraiser Might Make

10. “I can appraise anything.” – The truth is a trained appraiser can appraise anything, including antique jewelry, but if she lacks additional training in gems, metals and jewelry periods, she must have the help of experts if her appraisal is to be an accurate one. Ideally, when having your antique jewelry appraised, your appraiser should have gemological training, historical knowledge of the jewelry being appraised, and insight into the methods of construction in addition to appraisal training. She earns bonus points if she’s actually made such jewelry herself.

Steve Turner, a fine jewelry appraiser with Gemcorp, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia, recommends that you interview your appraiser regarding how much training she has with respect to your particular item.

9. “I have 10 years of retail store training. I really know my stuff.” – To accurately assess an antique piece of jewelry, much more than retail experience is required. When seeking an antique jewelry appraisal, don’t choose someone who is employed by a jewelry store or who buys and sells jewelry. The former simply is not exposed to enough product to make a viable assessment, and the latter may have a biased interest in the item.

8. “I’ve been doing this for three years. If I were in school, I would have my PhD in this stuff by now.” – Being able to appraise any specific item is more like getting an MD in it. “Someone who is appraising an antique piece of jewelry should have a minimum of five years in jewelry appraisals,” Turner stresses.

7. “Let me take a better look at that under my magnifying glass.” – To appraise antique jewelry, an appraiser should have a wide array of professional equipment at his disposal. High-powered magnification, preferably in the form of an electron microscope is of utmost importance. He should avail himself to other basic gemological equipment as well (e.g., spectroscope, refractometer, polariscope, dichroscope, etc.) if the jewelry contains gemstones. An extensive reference library is also a must have. In the case of diamonds, for example an antique diamond engagement ring, a set of 8 Master Color Grading Diamonds graded and approved by both GIA and AGS should be on hand as well.

6. “I don’t believe in all that USPAP compliance nonsense.” – Short for Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, USPAP is a set of quality control standards that applies to personal property like antique jewelry. A USPAP compliant appraisal ensures that your appraiser conforms to all the standards that have been set forth. For this type of reassurance, you should look for an appraiser who expressly states that she is USPAP compliant.

5. “What you want is a replacement cost with a new item appraisal.” – When it comes to antique jewelry, what you want is typically a replacement cost with a comparable item appraisal, but Turner points out that the “appraiser should evaluate an item on how you, the customer, want it appraised.” And whatever cost valuation the appraiser goes with must be based on genuine market data.

With antique jewelry, a comparable item replacement cost is usually preferable for insurance purposes because it’s easy to replace or remake an item with something new. It’s much harder to replace it with a comparable antique piece.

4. “You’ve been had! The diamond in your antique engagement ring has a hole in it.” – Antique jewelry appraisers who lack the requisite training say the darnedest things. Turner relates the story of an appraiser who called the facet in a diamond that allows the light to shine through it a “hole.” You might also hear an inexperienced appraiser say that the diamonds in an antique piece are set upside-down.

3. “This certificate of authenticity is all the proof you need.” – A certificate of authenticity might look good, but if it doesn’t say anything of substance, it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on. “A COA should be very specific regarding the description of the item. A generic statement that could apply to any diamond or gemstone, for instance, renders it worthless.” Unless the COA has all the details of a USPAP compliant appraisal, it’s not going to be a very helpful document.

2. “Trust me.” – If you don’t feel as though your appraiser is “competent, authoritative, and experienced,” then you should look elsewhere, cautions Turner. “It wouldn’t be a bad idea to get an example of the appraiser’s work product either.” Doing so will ensure he is giving you a genuine unbiased appraisal as opposed to one that is based on personal prejudices.

1. “You’re just being unreasonable.” – Although it’s not common to push the matter, it’s not unreasonable to ask an appraiser for market research that backs up her appraisal.

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Antique Trends

When the leading antique and collectibles sites recently performed a year-end assessment to come up with their annual Top Ten list trends, antique jewelry made a prominent showing in 2011. For the antique and collectibles price guide publisher and go-to antique source Kovels, for instance, antique jewelry has placed in the top ten for the past five consecutive years and 2011 continued that trend, coming in as the number 10 most searched for item on the site. The website’s owner indicated that both costume and antique jewelry proved strong sellers. And in a surprising twist, the former is often selling at almost the same price as the latter.

At Topazery, our emphasis is on antique engagement rings highlighted by precious and semi-precious gemstones like diamonds, aquamarines, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, but we also carry antique jewelry with sought-after costume detailing like plique a jour enameling and manmade gemstones.

Over at the antique and collectibles mall, TIAS.com, vintage jewelry and antique diamond jewelry were the hot sellers in 2011. There, antique jewelry performed even better than it did at Kovels, snagging the number five slot on the site’s top-twenty sales list and rising two notches from number seven in 2010.

Topazery’s collection of vintage jewelry pieces runs the gamut from bridal and wedding rings to filigree and diamond engagement rings. We also carry a nice selection of vintage pendants, vintage brooches, vintage necklaces, vintage bracelets and vintage earrings. While the definition of “vintage” is open to debate, vintagejewelry.org.uk/ defines it this way: “A piece of jewellery is considered to be vintage art, if it has crossed 25 years of presence. A jewellery piece which has overlapped 100 years of age … gains the honour of an antique vintage jewellery piece.”

Our antique diamond offerings are all-encompassing, with diamond engagement rings especially well represented. As you browse the Topazery site, you’ll also find diamond bridal rings, diamond wedding bands, diamond earrings, and diamond pins and brooches. As antique jewelry continues to ride a wave of popularity in the antique and collectibles community, Topazery will continue to bring its fans and collectors the best jewelry pieces the antique world has to offer.

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Antique Jewelry For Valentine’s Day

When one of the nation’s leading department stores recently conducted a Valentine’s Day survey, an overwhelming majority of female respondents indicated that if they could only have one gift this February 14th holiday, they would want it to be jewelry. And not just any jewelry, mind you. In particular, “Antique and vintage styles are popping up everywhere from restaurants to music to jewelry,” an engagement ring and wedding band designer for the retailer pointed out.

In this high-tech era of gadgets and gizmos, 29 percent of the women polled stated that if forced to choose a single item, they would prefer jewelry as a Valentine’s Day gift. Compare that to the mere eight percent of respondents who favored the latest technology product, and even the iPad can’t compete.

What about men who already have the gift of jewelry in the bag and are planning to pop the question this February 14th with an engagement ring? The department store’s designer encourages them to focus on timeless designs.

That’s a jewelry philosophy that Topazery holds near and dear to its heart. Indeed, Topazery’s founder firmly believes that antique jewelry should touch the heart and soul with its timeless beauty. As such, she selects every antique engagement ring and antique jewelry piece the company carries by hand to ensure it evokes that kind of enduring adoration in herself and her customers.

The surveying retailer’s designer also offered these additional tips for making a Valentine’s Day proposal one she’ll remember for a lifetime:

1. “Consider creative packaging options … like an antique jewelry box…”

At Topazery.com, no attention to detail is spared. Time and time again, the men who buy their antique engagement rings from the site—and the women who receive them—come back with nothing but praise for the entire experience, including the exquisite packaging. They marvel over the treasure box their ring comes wrapped in and comment that “This [beautiful wrapping] added to its charm” and gush that “even the box is gorgeous!”

Topazery Antique Jewelry Gift Box

2. “Look for special diamond cuts and shapes as well as intricate and dazzling band styles…”

Browsers of the Topazery website will discover antique engagement rings accented with old cut diamonds like rose cut, old European cut and old mine cut. They will also find white gold, yellow gold and platinum bands with milgrain, carvings, and filigree and orange blossom detailing.

Antique Engagement Ring

Antique Wedding Ring with Orange Blossom Motif

Old Mine Cut Diamond Antique Engagement Ring

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