Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pascal Lacroix Grand Giveaway!

Post by Patricia Syvrud

One of our favorite jewelry designers, Pascal Lacroix is celebrating 35 years of creating fine bracelet sculptures with a Grand Giveaway of one of his bracelets from the new Weave Collection.  Open to his retail partners as well as private collectors and 'wannabe' collectors, this fantastic promotion starts today, September 23, 2014!  Scroll down to learn more about how to enter.

The Pascal Lacroix Grand Prize Weave bracelet is a custom created bangle made of 14K yellow gold accented with 22 individual diamonds totaling 1.1 cts in weight. This beautiful bracelet has a retail value of $7500! Created with a hidden hinge and the same precision and attention to detail as his other bracelets, the Weave bracelets incorporate a unique open work of gold that truly sets it apart. 


Starting today, September 23, 2014 through Tuesday, October 14, 2014 go to Pascal Lacroix's dedicated web page: http://lucky.pascallacroix.com/.  Complete the entry form (only one entry per person, please) and enter how you heard about the promotion.  Each entrant will be sent a unique number via email, and the winning number will be chosen by a random selection process.  DON'T FORGET TO SAY HOW YOU HEARD ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY! The store or person who referred the winner will ALSO win a beautiful Pascal Lacroix Weave bracelet with a retail value of $3500!
The registration page http://lucky.pascallacroix.com/ asks 'Who referred you to this opportunity', then has a drop down box with the various options.  Once you click on how you heard about it (Store and Salesperson; Facebook; Newsletter; Friend; Pascal Lacroix), don't forget to input the actual NAME of the person who referred you in one of the boxes below the option, so that person or store can receive the Second Prize bracelet!

The Grand Prize and Second Prize winning Weave bracelets in 14 K yellow gold.  The Grand Prize bracelet is accented with 21 diamonds.

No cash equivalent will be awarded. Only one entry per person. Each entry will be assigned a unique serial number. The entrant will receive an email with its possible winning number and the winner will be chosen through a random selection process. The start date and close date to receive entries and the date of selection of the winners are as follows:

Start date: September 23rd
Close Date: October 14th
Date of Selection of Winner: October 21, 2014

Each entrant is required to identify who referred them to this opportunity (person, store or media outlet) so that the referring party can receive the second prize. For example, a person sharing the opportunity to their contacts on Facebook will be the recipient of the second prize if properly identified as the originating referral to the winning entry. If there is no referral identified or because the participant found out about this by visiting our website or Facebook page, then the second prize will be awarded by drawing a name from the remaining referring parties.

First prize: a new hinged bracelet from the weave collection in 14k gold with 22 diamonds tw. 1.1ct valued at $7500. Bracelet is 5mm in diameter.
Second prize: a new hinged bracelet from the weave collection in 14k gold valued at $3500. Bracelet is 4mm in diameter.
Standard bracelet size is 6.5, larger size will incur a charge. Shipping outside of the United States is not available.
All federal, state, local and municipal laws and regulations apply. Void where prohibited

You can read more about this talented jewelry designer in an earlier blog post:


And of course, let us know if you're interested in purchasing one of Pascal Lacroix's custom-made bracelets.  You can see his entire line at: www.PascalLacroix.com

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Atelier Munsteiner - The Fantastic World of Fantasy Cuts

Post by Patricia Syvrud

Fun, fanciful, fine, FANTASTIC! Not that I get giddy, or anything, when I see the amazing creations of Atelier Munsteiner.  Founded by master gemcutter Bernd Munsteiner who grew up near the lapidary 'mecca' of Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Atelier Munsteiner is now in the extremely capable hands of Bernd's son Tom Munsteiner (gemcutter) and Tom's wife Jutta (jewelry designer).

Tourmaline and 18K Yellow Gold Ring
Cut as a "cube" with faceting on the underside, giving a 3-D sculptural feel - stunning!

Bernd Munsteiner, known by many as the 'Father of the Fantasy Cut' was one of the very first lapidary artists to deviate from the time-tested methodology of faceting gemstones in the classic 'brilliant cut', or with small triangular and kite-shaped facets.  Rather, he was one of a select few that in the 1960's, chose to re-invent gems and jewelry as an art form, using the natural shape, exterior surfaces, interior inclusions and understanding of crystallography as his muse to create geometric expressions of natural beauty.

Aquamarine and Platinum Ring
An oval cabochon with a "line" of faceting underneath in a step-like fashion

Munsteiner stretched the boundaries and defied the traditional methods of gem cutting and developed what some believe is the finest technique in cutting since medieval times.  He started faceting the "backsides" and "bottoms" of gemstones, referred to as "negative cuts." This style of faceting became known as the "Fantasy Cut" and a modern era of gem art was formed.  When looking at the gems, the way the light reflects and refracts throughout the stone makes it appear to glow from within.  The gems are sculptures - true art jewels!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Buccellati - Gifts from the Ocean

post by Christine Webb

On the evening of May 1, 2014, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History hosted an event sponsored by Buccellati, highlighting amazing pearl jewelry and honoring the Ocean Hall. The high jewelry pieces were one-of-a-kind and featured extremely rare and unique pearls.  The most important piece in the collection was the Gran Dama, a melo pearl brooch that Buccellati was very proud to share. It was an elegant black tie reception with delicious food, lovely music, and a distinguished group of over 200 guests - not to mention the astonishing Buccellati jewels.
The Gran Dama Melo Pearl Brooch - an 18k yellow, white and rose gold brooch celebrating motherhood, featuring a magnificent and exceedingly rare 24mm melo pearl from Vietnam and a drop-shaped South Sea pearl, accented with 549 colorless diamonds totaling 1.84ct and 1,259 fancy colored diamonds totaling 9.72ct. Buccellati's prize piece for the evening!
(photo by Orasa Weldon for GIA)
Examining the Gran Dama behind-the-scenes.  The rare melo pearl is produced by the Melo melo, a sea snail indigenous to southeast Asia.  The melo pearl is a natural pearl that is non-nacreous and most often round in shape. They are typically found in shades of orange, and less often yellow, gray or brown in color. This is one of the largest and finest melo pearls ever found.

Buccellati is a world renowned Italian jewelry house that is famous for its textural gold jewelry and spectacular silver pieces.  The firm utilizes different finishing techniques such as engraving, etching, and piercing to add dimension and beauty to the jewelry.  Typically they incorporate yellow and white gold along with platinum and silver in each piece.  When they feature gems, they are often large bold stones that are unusual and rare.  Many of the pieces are inspired by nature as can be seen in the pieces here, whether a cluster of grapes, or a whimsical monkey.  Buccellati jewelry is statement jewelry and is immediately recognizable due to their trademark finishing details and the mixing of different metals.
Trays of jewelry being matched up with their labels before the event.

A statement necklace of 19 South Sea baroque pearls set in 18k white and yellow gold alternating with elaborate links accented with rose cut diamonds - and the matching earrings.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Alexandra Hart, a Designer With Heart

Post by Patricia Syvrud

San Diego-based jewelry designer Alexandra Hart's nature-inspired jewelry items reflect not only her design aesthetic, but also her business ethic.  Self-described as hoping to "create jewelry which captures the delicate balance of the bold and sculptural with the sensual and graceful" Alix, as she's known to her friends and colleagues, incorporates her deep caring about the world in which we live and the industry's impact on the environment into how she runs her company.

The Award winning Golden Sunburst Necklace in 18K yellow gold with hidden clasp. Chosen by the World Gold Council International Campaign and a Niche Award Finalist 2009. I've chosen this piece as my Gem to Remember for its soft femininity and sculptural elegance.
 Patricia's Gem to Remember

A designer with depth, Alix realized in high school that she had a true love of crafting with metals, which to her was like eating 'icing off the cake', i.e. SWEET!  After receiving her undergraduate degree in Art at Skidmore College, she extended her studies with a Masters in Metalsmithing from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Commissioned ring of a lovely blue Mozambique tourmaline set in platinum, accented with diamonds. The shank of the ring is hinged to open and be strung as a pendant.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Christie's - Geneva Magnificent Jewels, May 14, 2014

post by Christine Webb

Well the buzz in the jewelry world is all about the upcoming Christie's auction in Geneva on May 14, 2014.  The Magnificent Jewels sale will be memorable I'm sure, as recent auctions have achieved record breaking prices for fine gems and jewelry.  This auction is creating excitement as several very important diamonds will be on the block.

The Blue, as it is being called, is the largest flawless fancy vivid blue diamond in the world!  At 13.22ct with excellent symmetry and polish, this pear-shaped diamond is set in a ring, flanked on either side by a pear-shaped diamond, each weighing approximately 1ct, D in color and internally flawless.  The estimate is $22,000,000-25,000,000!  Not only rare beyond belief, but just astonishingly gorgeous.

The price realized was $23,795,372!  It was named The Winston Blue by Nayla Hayek, CEO of Harry Winston who acquired the gem.  "In January we (Swatch Group) purchased Harry Winston and since then my ambition has been to acquire the most desirable and unique gems.  When Christie's announced they were offering the largest flawless fancy-vivid blue that the GIA had ever graded, I had to buy it.  Today, I am proud to own the most beautiful blue diamond in the world: THE WINSTON BLUE," said Nayla Hayek.  Well, I'm still partial to the Hope Diamond - but I'd love to see this beauty up close - I'm sure it's magnificent!

Another important fancy colored diamond will also be featured during the sale.  The Ocean Dream, a fancy vivid blue-green diamond weighing 5.50ct is triangular cut and the largest diamond of this color graded by the GIA to date.  The Ocean Dream was also a part of the Splendor of Diamonds  exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in 2003, where seven rare and valuable diamonds were displayed together for the first and only time.  I had the opportunity to examine the diamonds up close - a once in a lifetime experience! The Ocean Dream has an estimate of $7,500,000-9,500,000.

The price realized, and world auction record for a blue-green diamond, was $8,781,637.

The Rajah Diamond, is an old-mine brilliant cut diamond, weighing 26.14ct, set in a Tiffany & Co. platinum ring.  This diamond has wonderful provenance and is believed to have originated from the famous mines of Golconda, India.  It is estimated to bring $3,000,000-5,000,000.

The price realized for this spectacular Golconda diamond - $4,104,719.

This Belle Epoque diamond Devant-de-Corsage Brooch was designed by Cartier in 1912. The pendant features a pear shaped diamond weighing 34.08ct, an oval shaped diamond weighing 23.55ct and a marquise shaped diamond weighing 6.51ct, enhanced by diamond encrusted lily-of-the-valley links set in platinum. This amazing jewel is estimated to go for $7,000,000-12,000,000.

The price realized for this Belle Epoque Diamond brooch was $17,882,669!  Way above the estimate.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Nicholas Varney - Elegant Whimsical Jewels

post by Christine Webb

Nicholas Varney jewelry is creative, elegant and even whimsical at times - but always beautiful - inspired from Earth's flora and fauna.  Each piece is crafted by hand with the utmost attention to style, quality and detail.  Nicholas Varney is inspired by nature, color and texture. The jewelry is both timely and timeless - something that can be difficult to achieve - but a true sign of fine jewelry. 

One of my very favorite designs is the Brick Bracelet.  Designed as a flexible cuff comprised of handmade "bricks" that stack together with amazing articulation forming a spectacular bracelet. This bracelet highlights natural black Penn shell pearls encrusted with pave-set round brilliant cut diamonds, tsavorite garnets and blue sapphires.  Each "brick" has a beautifully detailed high polish bow-motif grill on the reverse side.  The bracelet is done in 18k yellow and white gold with oxidized silver.  Each link, or "brick," is gorgeous on its own, but together they create a masterpiece.

Brick Bracelet: Penn shell pearl, tsavorite garnet, blue sapphire, diamonds, silver, 18k gold
Christine's Gem to Remember

Another magnificent Brick Bracelet, this time done in three rows with pink sapphires, moonstones and diamonds.  Again, the backside is finished beautifully; the attention to detail in each "brick" is outstanding.

Brick Bracelet: pink sapphires, diamonds, moonstone in18k gold

The mixing of gemstones and colors makes this bracelet extraordinary.  The shapes and colors of the opals are exceptional - accented with moonstones, yellow sapphires and diamonds. A "wall" of beauty!

Brick Bracelet: fire opal, moonstone, white opal, yellow sapphire, diamonds 18k gold

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Elena Kriegner - Jewelry with an Engineer's Heart!

Post by Patricia Syvrud

One of our goals in writing this blog is to introduce our readers to the new, the unusual, the unique jewelry designs that abound.  The interesting jewelry of Austrian-born jewelry designer Elena Kriegner is all that and more.  Her pieces are bright, geometric, and feminine, but with movement and convertability not readily embraced by other contemporary jewelry artists.

Elena Kriegner in her studio in New York City

 Colored gemstone "Uber" rings in sterling silver and 18 karat yellow gold with diamond set removable center bands

When you ask Elena “When did you decide you wanted to be a jewelry designer” she answers very definitely “When I was six.”  She has been making jewelry ever since!  In high school she was selling her handmade and beaded necklaces, bracelets and rings, and upon graduation went directly to the prestigious European Jewellery Design School.  After 4 years of training, she graduated as a Goldsmith, but continued her education for two more years, earning her degree as a Master Jewelry Maker.
Geometric "Firework" earrings in sterling silver set with amethysts

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kara Ross - Rough and Polished

post by Christine Webb

Patricia and I recently had the chance to visit Kara Ross at her boutique on Madison Avenue in New York City that opened in November 2013.  A perfect location and a stunning presence! Kara was gracious enough to give us the "grand tour" of the cream-colored store accented with brass.  A petite salon that is chock-full of amazing jewelry and handbags, it is an intimate dazzling space.  Kara Ross, celebrating over 10 years in business, has grown to include a fine jewelry line - the Petra Collection, a sterling silver line - the Gemstone Collection, and a fashion jewelry line - KARA by Kara Ross, as well as her luxe handbags.

Featuring the Petra Collection and the Gemstone Collection in her NYC salon, Kara is inspired by the City.  Her jewelry is colorful, bold, and unique, and clearly represents Kara's love of gems and her depth of understanding as a gemologist. The jewelry is presented in an innovative and unexpected way.

The Kara Ross flagship store at 655 Madison Ave. at 60th Street

Please watch this 0:33 second video - it sets the stage for the jewelry images that follow.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Barbara Heinrich - Contemporary Classic Jewelry

Post by Patricia Syvrud

Inspired. Organic. Inherent lightness. Lovely. These are all descriptions of the fine jewelry created by award-winning, German born jewelry designer Barbara Heinrich.  They could also be descriptions of the designer herself.

 18K yellow gold interlink necklace, from the AJDC Annual Design Project 'Sphere', recently on display at the Forbes Galleries NYC.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Post by Christine Webb

Hemmerle!  Just look at this jewelry - you almost don't need to read anything about this amazing design house - really - just LOOK!  Hemmerle creations are so unique - all of the pieces are one-of-a-kind art jewels. Hemmerle is unlike any other jewelry design house.

It's very difficult to have a favorite piece of Hemmerle jewelry.  However, I gasped when I saw these earrings.  The intense blue sapphires against the vivid green patinated copper - and then the exquisite design - love love love these earrings! Beyond compare.

 Sapphires, patinated copper, white gold and silver
Christine's Gem to Remember

A fourth generation family run business that began in 1893, today Stefan and Sylveli Hemmerle run the business with their son, Christian, and daughter-in-law, Yasmin. The Hemmerle boutique is located in Munich, Germany and the handmade pieces are fabricated by 20 artists in a workshop a few blocks away. Hemmerle has long been revered in Germany as one of the country's premier contemporary jewelry designers. To quote from their website: Hemmerle is renowned for its dedication to craftsmanship, exceptional quality, innovative material combinations, and bold unostentatious creations.

These are a close second for my favorite Gem to Remember - the gems, the design, the blues - undeniably fabulous.
Aquamarine briolettes, blue opals, sapphires and gold 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Todd Reed, Raw Elegance

Post by Patricia Syvrud

One of the conundrums of the jewelry world is that there are so many products out there that all look the same, yet at the same time, there’s also so much wonderful and truly unique jewelry and so many inspired jewelry designers. Todd Reed is one of those talented and inspired award-winning designers that you should know.

A selection of Todd Reed jewelry from the Quadrum Gallery:
                                                                                              Photo Courtesy of QuadrumGallery.com

A pioneer in the use of rough diamonds in contemporary fine jewelry design, Todd Reed singlehandedly started the trend for incorporating the beauty that is an unfaceted diamond into strong ‘statement’ jewels, trademarking “Raw Elegance” to capture the essence of his design esthetic.

 Palladium metal band rings in "Autumn", Black, White, and "Raw" cube diamonds:

Monday, March 3, 2014

Oscar Night Jewelry 2014

post by Christine Webb

Just thought I'd blog this morning about the incredible jewelry worn at the 2014 Academy Awards.  This year I was happy to see statement necklaces that were sorely missed last year. However, I was disappointed at the lack of colored gemstones, again!  And I wished there were more colorful gowns - so many neutrals.  However the metallic fabrics of gold and silver along with the  embellishments were to die for! Below are a few of the ladies that I felt had on gorgeous opulent gems - and a few that I thought could have made a better choice - and of course I've given my opinion!

And the award for the BEST OF EVERYTHING goes to Cate Blanchett!  She was flawless - drop dead gorgeous! The Armani gown was exquisite - but the Chopard Opal and Diamond Pendant Earrings were beyond spectacular.  She also had on a beautiful brown diamond bracelet. Cate had my vote from the beginning of the red carpet coverage - and I didn't change my mind for the rest of the evening.  Magnificent!

Cate Blanchett in Armani Prive wearing Chopard Opal Earrings

Christine's Gem to Remember

Charlize was a close second in my book.  She is just one of the most beautiful women walking on this planet, seriously WOW!  The Harry Winston Diamond Necklace was incredible - a mere $15 million - and perfect for her breathtaking black Dior.  Did I mention D-Flawless 31ct diamond! Sophisticated, extraordinary, stunning. And when she stood next to Chris Hemsworth - say no more - best presenters ever!

Charlize Theron in Christian Dior Couture wearing Harry Winston Diamonds

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Tucson Experience 2014

Post by Christine Webb and Patricia Syvrud

Well we had another incredible week in Tucson this year at the AGTA GemFair, the GJX show, JCK Tucson and of course all of the smaller tent shows.  It's always so amazing to see the beautiful gems, jewelry, carvings, mineral specimens, huge geodes, fossils and so much more! Tucson becomes an international gem fair each year in February as dealers from around the world come to sell and source gemstones. Here are a few highlights from our week in Tucson, Arizona.

We had the chance to catch up with some of our favorite designers - Paula Crevoshay, Alishan, Erica Courtney, Bernd Munsteiner, Barbara Heinrich, as well as the gem dealers, most notably the Henns, who source the stones for these high level designers and retail jewelers from around the world. (We're saving our photos of Bernd and Barbara as well as the Henns for a future post - keep checking Joia Gems!)

Paula Crevoshay's booth was one of the most colorful booths at the AGTA show.  She is known as the Queen of Color, and she didn't disappoint this year - her showcases were filled with incredible one-of-a-kind pieces encrusted with vibrant gems in every hue, as you can see below.

One of our favorites was this stunning crocus flower with purple sapphires, pink spinels, fire opals, yellow sapphires, and moonstone dewdrops - PLEASE!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Arunashi, a Master of Colored Jewels

Post by Patricia Syvrud

One of the highlights of attending the Tucson gem shows is the chance to visit with our favorite designers in person.  Sometimes finding the designers, if they aren't exhibiting in their own booth, is a bit of trying to find a needle in a haystack, but as luck would have it, I did get to meet up with Arun Bohra of Arunashi.

Emeralds, sapphires, opal - with diamonds - undeniably spectacular!

Arunashi chrysoberyl catseye and diamond 'Egg' earrings in titanium
Photo: The Crysoberyl Catseye & Diamond egg earrings, in Titanium
Arunashi "Japanese Print Art" diamond earrings
Patricia with Arun Bohra of Arunashi in Tucson

We absolutely LOVE Arunashi's use of color and gemstones and the way he can make his gem-encrusted pieces appear both light and substantial at the same time.  If you missed our first post about this talented designer, now's your chance to see more of Arunashi's gorgeous jewelry by clicking on the link below:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

2014 AGTA Spectrum Awards - the Highlights

Post by Christine Webb

The Tucson show that we love best is the AGTA GemFair - and that is where the Smithsonian displays an exhibit from the National Gem Collection each year - so we're slightly partial!  But most importantly, the AGTA presents the Spectrum and Cutting Edge Awards to the fabulous artists who create the jewelry and the cutters who facet and carve the gemstones. Here are some of the award winners that we were swooning over!  To see all of the award winning pieces, check out the AGTA website at http://agta.org/awards/index.html

 Best of Show - James Currens, platinum ring with cabochon emerald and diamonds

Evening Wear/Platinum Honors - Howard Donsky, earrings featuring tanzanite, emerald, moonstone and diamonds