Thursday, September 1, 2016

Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars

We love gemstones for their color, and sometimes surprisingly unusual hues, and even their rarity. Here's one more thing to love about precious stones. Occasionally a corundum (that's sapphire and ruby you know) is formed with natural needle like inclusions deep within the crystal rough.

Robert Procop star ruby ring

Looking Deep Within
Clever cutters recognize these desirable traits and exploit the stone's special inclusions by cutting the gem en cabochon instead of faceted. The result? The hidden needles emerge in a star-like pattern across the top of the domed jewel.

4-6-12 and Wiggly
They are then called star stones--as in star ruby or star sapphire. The rays are often 6 coming down from the top center of the polished dome of the stone. But a stone can have 4 rays, even 12. After all this is a natural occurrence we're revealing, so the variety is pretty individual.

12 ray black sapphire
The Straighter the Better
The straighter and sharper the rays, and the farther they go down the side of the cabochon, the more value they contribute to the stone. Wavy rays or shortened rays lessen the value of a star stone but nevertheless the stone is still a bit rare and certainly individually distinct.

wiggly-wavy 6 rayed star Lavender sapphire Art Deco period

Look-a-Likes are Loverly
As with all genuine stones that are coveted, their desirability often generates manufactured look-a-likes.Such is the case with star stones. From the 1950s through the 1970s a created stone called the Linde Star sapphire was made. Essentially its star was fabricated onto the created stone. They are still collectible and hold a certain charm today for collectors.

Linde Star sapphire circa 1960

So whatever star you are wishing on--whether one with 4 or 6 or even 12 rays--whether man-made or earth grown--you'll find these twinkling star stones are guaranteed to make your jewelry wishes come true.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Granny's Chips

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has an empire full of jewelry--and it's the most expansive in style, gem types and shear quantity. It's believed to be the most extensive jewelry collection in the world. And fortunately the world gets a glimpse into her bijoux from time to time when she wears them in public. But it's said that she wears her beloved jewels everyday in private too. Why on earth not?

The Biggies
The biggest of the big are lovingly and cheekily referred to as "Granny's Chips" and what chips they are. Look at the closeup of her brooch fashioned from the 3rd and 4th largest stones of the Cullinan diamond. This historical stone was found in the earliest part of the 20th century. It was over 3,100 carats when recovered at the Premiere Mine in So. Africa.

Real Cut Ups
Originally, these, called the Cullinan III and Cullinan IV were set in Elizabeth's grandmother's coronation crown. As you see it here, the 158 carat piece is fashioned into a stunning brooch.

"Well, how big is that," you're wondering? Let me illustrate.

Will that do? Oh that will do nicely, thank you.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Wear With Abandon

Your jewelry ---your choice

Today is a good day to re-think HOW you wear your jewelry. Usually the jewelry type tells us how and where to enjoy the item. But a little creative whimsy on your part and you can expand its utility to enjoy the piece in a brand new way.

Take this fanciful diamond peacock brooch for instance. Well, actually you won't be able to 'take it' but you get the idea--it cost a boatload and belongs to someone else at the moment.

Vintage item--modern interpretation

This jaw dropping 1948 diamond peacock brooch by Cartier can be the star of a fabulous coat, or be the pinnacle of a (securely fastened!) hat. Here actress Uma Thurman interprets this sensational vintage jewel on the entire shoulder strap of her evening gown.

Good choice. In this way, it really owns the spotlight--there's nothing else fighting for attention by displaying it thusly. And it becomes part of the gown's overall design in the end. It's the most outstanding evening gown strap we've ever seen, right?

Show us what you got
What's in your jewelry box? Are there items you don't use much? With a little reworking or just imagination it can be transformed into a re-energized piece that will make you the fashion diva we know you are. I'm envisioning someone repurposing a pendant into a stylish hair ornament right this minute . . .  uh-huh, that's the ticket.