Friday, July 11, 2014

Glorious garnets.  Queen Victoria contrasted hers with a green gown.  Our hessonite garnet festoon, pictured below, is begging to be worn to a ball.  Or a cotillion.  Maybe a masquerade.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

It is a very rare occasion indeed, in the world of antique jewelry, that we have a photo of the original owner of a Victorian necklace.  This distinction is usually limited to the realm of royalty and celebrity.  But here she is, a lady in white, of certain means and discernment, wearing a fancy taille d’epargne double tassel cable necklace.  Let’s imagine that she is posing with her sister on the occasion of her debut.  So lovely

Friday, June 20, 2014

Art nouveau flowers for a fine summer day.  At top is our glorious tulip enamel brooch set with a ribbon of diamonds.  Love how the book cover echoes the form.

The Cloister and the Hearth, A Tale of the Middle Ages, by Charles Reade (1894)

Sunday, May 11, 2014
Lucky us, look what Alana found!  It’s a hand painted portrait by Black Starr and Frost, the oldest jewellery house in America.  Black Starr & Frost was founded in Georgia in 1801 (as Marquand & Paulding in Savannah). They were one of the few American retailers who displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London at the Crystal Palace.  The portrait is signed “de Verber Morgan 1902.”

Lucky us, look what Alana found!  It’s a hand painted portrait by Black Starr and Frost, the oldest jewellery house in America.  Black Starr & Frost was founded in Georgia in 1801 (as Marquand & Paulding in Savannah). They were one of the few American retailers who displayed at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London at the Crystal Palace.  The portrait is signed “de Verber Morgan 1902.”

Friday, April 25, 2014
Talk to the hand, or rather let the hand talk to you.  These stunning Victorian circa 1880 “Day & Night” earrings are full of meaning.  The literal Victorian interpretation is ‘soul mate’.  The butterfly symbolizes the soul, and the hands symbolize sweet heart/loved one.
Or the ancient interpretation is more apotropaic.  Figa, Mano Fico, or even fig hand are all names for these little luck charms in the shape of a clenched hand.  Figa charms, which are an ancient amulet of Roman origin, bring good luck to the wearer and offer protection to ward off evil.  Be safe, wear figas.  

Talk to the hand, or rather let the hand talk to you.  These stunning Victorian circa 1880 “Day & Night” earrings are full of meaning.  The literal Victorian interpretation is ‘soul mate’.  The butterfly symbolizes the soul, and the hands symbolize sweet heart/loved one.

Or the ancient interpretation is more apotropaic.  Figa, Mano Fico, or even fig hand are all names for these little luck charms in the shape of a clenched hand.  Figa charms, which are an ancient amulet of Roman origin, bring good luck to the wearer and offer protection to ward off evil.  Be safe, wear figas.  

Friday, April 18, 2014
First Joseph Asscher created the square emerald cut with a three-step crown, seven-step pavilion and dramatic corners, forever known as the Asscher cut.  Then he cut the Excelsior Diamond, and then the Cullinan Diamond.  What a remarkable career in diamonds.

 

First Joseph Asscher created the square emerald cut with a three-step crown, seven-step pavilion and dramatic corners, forever known as the Asscher cut.  Then he cut the Excelsior Diamond, and then the Cullinan Diamond.  What a remarkable career in diamonds.

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

In the Victorian language of flowers this pietra dura bouquet of daffodils and forget-me-knots symbolizes “chivalrous true love.”  Let’s imagine this is a gift Mr. Darcy would have given.   

salamandra75:

1906, Edwardian Fashion

salamandra75:

1906, Edwardian Fashion

Monday, March 31, 2014
His Pearliness
Whether you are positively festooned in pearls or more demurely clad, have a care with your wee organic gems.  UC Berkeley offers these thorough instructions:
The following care advice pertains to all types of pearls, coral and mother-of-pearl (shell) material.
PEARL CARE
Because they are an organic gem comprised of calcium carbonate, pearls require more specialized care than most other gem materials. They are particularly subject to deterioration from contact with chemicals, including components in household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics and hair care products of all kinds.
The surface of a pearl is soft and is easily damaged. Pearls set in rings and bracelets are more subject to scuffing and scratching than pearls set in brooches, earrings, necklaces or strands. A pearl ring or bracelet should be considered a special-occasion piece, not for daily wear and DEFINITELY not to be worn while working with the hands.
A good rule of thumb is that pearls are THE LAST THING YOU PUT ON when dressing and THE FIRST THING YOU TAKE OFF when you get home. NEVER apply perfume or hairspray when you are wearing pearl jewelry, especially a strand of pearls.
STORAGE
Pearl strands should be stored separately from other jewelry because the surface of a pearl is soft and easily scratched by other gems. A silk bag, velvet-lined box or pearl folder—a satin-lined leatherette envelope with snaps to hold a strand in place—are all good places to store pearls. Your local jeweler is a good source for these items.
NEVER store pearls in a plastic bag. Some types of plastic emit a chemical that will cause the surface of your pearls to deteriorate.
Don’t store pearls in a safe or safety deposit box for long periods. The same ultra-dry atmospheric conditions that extend the life of paper documents may dry out your pearls and cause them to craze—to develop small fractures in the surface.
Pearl strands should be stored flat rather than hanging so the thread won’t stretch out prematurely.
STRINGING
Pearl strands should be restrung every one to two years or more often if the thread begins to bag or fray. Silk and nylon beading threads are the most commonly used materials for stringing pearls.
Knotting between beads offers the most security for your pearls; no matter where the strand breaks, you only stand to lose a single bead. The look of the knotted strand is not to everyone’s taste, however. Whether you string your pearls with or without knots, the first three or four beads on either side nearest the clasp should be knotted because this area takes the most wear and is the commonest place for a strand to break.
CLEANING
Strands:

Lay the strand flat on a clean soft cloth or towel. Make a mild solution of soap flakes (I use Ivory soap flakes) and warm water, and apply with a new pure natural bristle complexion or manicure brush, scrubbing gently. Being careful to support the strand so as not to stretch the thread, turn the necklace over and repeat. To rinse, submerge the strand in cool water flush with cool tap water for a minimum of five minutes. Carefully remove the strand from the water and lay it on a fresh towel to air dry. Don’t move it until it is completely dry.

Other pearl jewelry:
The principle is the same: use only a mild soap and a natural bristle brush, then rinse with cool water for at least five minutes.
NEVER USE DETERGENTS, HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS, COMMERCIAL JEWELRY CLEANERS OR TARNISH REMOVERS ON PEARL JEWELRY.
Never use your pearl cleaning brush for anything else, and store it where it will not become dusty or soiled.
Pearls will naturally darken slightly with age and wear. The golden or creamy tones that come with age cannot be removed.

Image: Maharaja Sir Sri Krishnaraja Wodiyar IV Bahadur of, Mysore, 1906 K Keshavayya, © V&A Images
http://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/eps2//wisc/pcare.html

His Pearliness

Whether you are positively festooned in pearls or more demurely clad, have a care with your wee organic gems.  UC Berkeley offers these thorough instructions:

The following care advice pertains to all types of pearls, coral and mother-of-pearl (shell) material.

PEARL CARE

Because they are an organic gem comprised of calcium carbonate, pearls require more specialized care than most other gem materials. They are particularly subject to deterioration from contact with chemicals, including components in household cleaners, perfumes, cosmetics and hair care products of all kinds.

The surface of a pearl is soft and is easily damaged. Pearls set in rings and bracelets are more subject to scuffing and scratching than pearls set in brooches, earrings, necklaces or strands. A pearl ring or bracelet should be considered a special-occasion piece, not for daily wear and DEFINITELY not to be worn while working with the hands.

A good rule of thumb is that pearls are THE LAST THING YOU PUT ON when dressing and THE FIRST THING YOU TAKE OFF when you get home. NEVER apply perfume or hairspray when you are wearing pearl jewelry, especially a strand of pearls.

STORAGE

Pearl strands should be stored separately from other jewelry because the surface of a pearl is soft and easily scratched by other gems. A silk bag, velvet-lined box or pearl folder—a satin-lined leatherette envelope with snaps to hold a strand in place—are all good places to store pearls. Your local jeweler is a good source for these items.

NEVER store pearls in a plastic bag. Some types of plastic emit a chemical that will cause the surface of your pearls to deteriorate.

Don’t store pearls in a safe or safety deposit box for long periods. The same ultra-dry atmospheric conditions that extend the life of paper documents may dry out your pearls and cause them to craze—to develop small fractures in the surface.

Pearl strands should be stored flat rather than hanging so the thread won’t stretch out prematurely.

STRINGING

Pearl strands should be restrung every one to two years or more often if the thread begins to bag or fray. Silk and nylon beading threads are the most commonly used materials for stringing pearls.

Knotting between beads offers the most security for your pearls; no matter where the strand breaks, you only stand to lose a single bead. The look of the knotted strand is not to everyone’s taste, however. Whether you string your pearls with or without knots, the first three or four beads on either side nearest the clasp should be knotted because this area takes the most wear and is the commonest place for a strand to break.

CLEANING

Strands:

Lay the strand flat on a clean soft cloth or towel. Make a mild solution of soap flakes (I use Ivory soap flakes) and warm water, and apply with a new pure natural bristle complexion or manicure brush, scrubbing gently. Being careful to support the strand so as not to stretch the thread, turn the necklace over and repeat. To rinse, submerge the strand in cool water flush with cool tap water for a minimum of five minutes. Carefully remove the strand from the water and lay it on a fresh towel to air dry. Don’t move it until it is completely dry.


Other pearl jewelry:

The principle is the same: use only a mild soap and a natural bristle brush, then rinse with cool water for at least five minutes.

NEVER USE DETERGENTS, HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS, COMMERCIAL JEWELRY CLEANERS OR TARNISH REMOVERS ON PEARL JEWELRY.

Never use your pearl cleaning brush for anything else, and store it where it will not become dusty or soiled.

Pearls will naturally darken slightly with age and wear. The golden or creamy tones that come with age cannot be removed.

Image: Maharaja Sir Sri Krishnaraja Wodiyar IV Bahadur of, Mysore, 1906 K Keshavayya, © V&A Images

http://nature.berkeley.edu/classes/eps2//wisc/pcare.html

Friday, March 21, 2014
It’s spring in Seattle and it’s raining jade and pearls!

It’s spring in Seattle and it’s raining jade and pearls!