Thursday, October 30, 2008

Champagne Diamonds

Now that we've busted the myth of white diamonds only, I want to introduce other "color" diamonds. Today's post is dedicated to champagne or chocolate diamonds, which range from a light yellow/brown to a rich, dark brown. Clever jewelry marketing people tend to call these warmer colored diamonds champagne or cognac diamonds.

Do champagne, chocolate, and chocolate diamonds occur naturally or are they artificial?
The answer is yes, to both. There are some natural ones, and there are others that have had their colors enhanced through irradiation.

Here are a few Handiwork Jewelry pieces with this warmer, color diamond as its centerpiece and accent

0.50CT round champagne diamond solitaire with white diamonds pave set in the mounting

0.61 CT round champagne diamond solitaire bezel set pendant in 14K yellow gold

0.30CT round cognac diamonds in the petals of this 14K white gold and white diamond pendant

1.25 CT of white and light champagne diamonds in 14K two tone journey pendant

1.05 CT simple journey pendant with light champagne and white diamonds bezel set in 14K gold

0.68CT champagne diamond solitaire engagement ring in a simple 14K yellow gold six-prong Tiffany setting

0.77CT champagne diamond solitaire engagement ring in a simple 14K yellow gold six-prong Tiffany setting

princess cut prasiolite (green amethyst) solitaire accented with three round champagne diamonds on each side, with black enamel to contrast the brown and black

1.50CT champagne diamond solitaire engagement ring with 0.38 CT in round, white diamonds pave set in a 14 Karat white gold vintage setting

1.42CT cognac diamond solitaire engagement ring in a tension setting. A total of 0.12 CT in round, white diamonds channel set in this 18 Karat white gold ring with yellow gold accent

1.33CT chocolate diamond solitaire wedding set with 0.75 Carats in round and baguette cut diamonds channel set in this 14 Karat white and yellow gold two piece set.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Black Diamonds

We usually think of diamonds as brilliant and near colorless, but "black diamonds" are an unusual and unique specimen. Black diamonds are technically carbonado, which can be found in Brazil and the Central African Republic. Black diamonds and black onyx may appear similar at first glance, but they are very different in chemical structure and jewelry value. Black diamonds are often faceted while black onyxes are usually polished flat. The most famous black diamond is the 67 Carat, cushion cut "Black Orlov," and the history/folklore about it can be found here.

None of the black diamond pieces at Handiwork are cursed ;)

Black and white diamond slide pendant (should be vertical)

This 18K eternity band has black and white diamonds pave set completely around the ring

A simple white pearl pendant with black and white diamond accents

And with matching earrings!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Testing for Real Pearls

A lovely customer came to Handiwork today and wanted to have her pearls re-strung. The cutest part was that she did not know if they were genuine pearls. I taught her this simple pearl test everyone should know how to do.

Take two of the pearls and scratch them together. You should feel a slight resistance as the pearls nacre create friction against one another. Note the small feathery "scratches" left where the two pearls rubbed against one another.

Here is another close up of the "scratch," which can actually be easily removed with your fingers.

Fake pearls will NOT scratch against one another. In fact, you will find they are slippery and have a plastic feel to them. Natural pearls may also have small blemishes, bumps, and color gradations.

Hopefully this pearl scratching trick will replace that funny habit people have developed -- using one's teeth to scratch the pearl's nacre!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Faberge Enamel Jewelry

Faberge may be known for their stunning eggs, but they have also made a name for themselves in the jewelry industry with their extraordinary craftsmanship in the art of enameling. More information on the laboriously, tedious processes required in perfecting detailed enamel jewelry can be found here.

The oval red rubies in this Faberge ring and earring are accented with diamonds and a beautiful red enamel

This is an elegant Faberge blue sapphire and blue enamel necklace available at Handiwork Jewelry in Memphis, TN

Ways to ensure it is an authentic Faberge enamel piece is to look for tags and stamps
In the clasp of the sapphire, blue enamel necklace, you will see the trademark stamp and 750 imprint to indicate it is 18 white gold

About Faberge

In 1872, Peter Carl Faberge took over his father's jewelry workshop, which had been established in St. Petersburg in 1842. His technical mastery as a goldsmith put him on par with the world's most renowned jewelers. He drew his inspiration from the art of earlier generations which he found in the well-stocked treasury of the Hermitage. As Supplier to the Imperial Court of Russia, Faberge is best known for his unique series of 50 jeweled Imperial Easter eggs dating from 1885-1916. His patrons included most of the world's royalty and other wealthy clientele of his time.

Faberge's creative genius and his quest for originality, combined with his supreme technical mastery are the hallmarks of his distinctive style. His immensely popular Objects of fantasy can be seen in some of the world's most important museums and private collections. Outstanding among these are the collections of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II and Forbes Magazine.

After the 1917 October Revolution, Faberge fled Russia. All of the assets of the Faberge company located within Russia had been confiscated by the new government. Peter Carl Faberge died in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1920.

The famous jeweler to the Tzars, Peter Carl Faberge, used so called "Work masters" to create his wonderful objects of art. The Faberge Company, then in St. Petersburg, now has offices in London, Paris, and New York, to continue this tradition.

In 1990 the Faberge Company appointed the jeweler Victor Mayer GmbH & Co. of Pforzheim, Germany, founded in 1890, as the new and exclusive work master. This firm was chosen because throughout more than 100 years it has continued to maintain the essential manual skills and technical knowledge necessary for the continuation of Faberge's legacy. Under one roof 60 craftsmen exercise more than 30 traditional skills - some of them unique to this firm.

Victor Mayer of Pforzheim, Germany is the only Work master in the world that has been entrusted with the license to produce and sell Faberge Company enameled 18k gold jewelry. Every item created is an original work produced in a limited edition and bears the coveted "FABERGÉ" hallmark and the mark of work master Victor Mayer.

The family owned enterprise, Victor Mayer GmbH & C, was founded in 1890 and is one of Europe's leading producers of handmade jewelry. In more than 30 countries the name of the company founder is synonymous with the craft of the German goldsmith. Creations from Victor Mayer are the result of an unusual combination of tradition and innovation. Their greatest asset is an archive of designs, models, and workbooks as well as specialty tools and equipment from 110 years of company history. Thanks to the knowledge handed down to the fourth generation, the craftsmen at Victory Mayer are able to use rare techniques of the goldsmith's art to produce incomparable jewelry and objects of art for Faberge.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Green Amethyst?

Amethysts are usually purple, but recently there have been talks of pink amethysts and even green amethysts.

A pink amethyst, as featured on yesterday's post, is usually a light pink, almost light gray purple. The marketing folks have done a great job of re-naming these pale amethysts as "pink amethysts" to highlight their difference from the usual medium to dark purple amethyst.

Green amethysts are another interesting gemstone, because the term is are actually a misnomer. The technically correct term for these light sea green gemstones is actually prasiolites or vermarines, which belongs to the same quartz family as amethysts.

Simple yet bold, this prasiolite ring at Handiwork costs $175.

This cushion cut prasiolite has a simple string of diamonds around the stone and along the thin band. At Handiwork, this ring is available for $425.

Cost: $185

Cost: $145

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rose Gold Jewelry

In Memphis, we have seen a rising demand for rose gold or pink gold jewelry. An elderly customer recently came to Handiwork and talked about the popularity of rose gold shortly after World War II. Many of American soldiers returned from Europe with rose gold pieces for their significant others. Because gold is naturally yellow, both white gold and rose gold are created by combining different alloys. For rose gold, the alloy of choice is copper. Wikipedia has a short, informative article here.

Here are a few rose gold jewelry pieces we carry at our store:

A simple line of diamonds (1.0 CT) have a slight wave on this rose gold bangle
Cost: $745

This rose gold ring has 0.85 CT in diamonds and is sure to make a statement
Cost: $645

Rose gold ring by designer Le Vian with pink amethyst, pink sapphire, and white diamond (0.30CT)
Cost: $485

Rose gold necklace by designer Le Vian with pink amethyst, pink sapphire, and white diamond pendant
Cost: $365

Rose gold ring by designer Effy with 0.10 CT diamonds, light pink sapphires and faceted amethyst
Cost: $179

Rose gold ring by designer Effy with chocolate/champagne diamonds and round pink amethyst
Cost: $115

Rose gold ring by designer Effy with 0.15CT diamonds and a faceted radiant princess cut pink amethyst ring
Cost: $289

3.50 CT black diamonds and white diamonds bordering a rose gold, dog tag pendant