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By: Shmukler Design 

Last week, our blog post — History of Jewelry Part Two — Accessories: From Ancient Egypt to the Roaring ‘20s — covered the history of jewelry accessories and the different trademark styles created by cultures around the world from ancient times to the early 20th century. That post takes us up to the early 1900s, discussing the popular jewelry styles in the United States at the time, including those worn by the fated passengers aboard the RMS Titanic.

Today, we are fortunate to have Craig A. Lynch, G.G., with us to discuss the jewelry accessories he appraised from the Titanic, recovered from the bottom of the ocean nearly more than eight decades after an iceberg struck the luxury liner back in April of 1912.

Craig. A. Lynch, G.G.

You may recall from last week’s post that Craig, who is an Accredited Senior Gemologist and Certified Insurance Appraiser, is the owner of Ouellet & Lynch in Phoenix, Ariz. In 2002, he was selected to document and value all of the jewelry recovered from the Titanic. Below, in his own words, Craig provides answers to our questions about that experience and the jewelry accessories from the time of the sailing of the Titanic. Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

An outfit isn’t complete without accessories — more specifically, jewelry accessories. Nothing catches the eye more than a complementary necklace or sparkling earrings. Since the beginning of civilization, jewelry accessories have been popular for both men and women — the trend didn’t become more commonly thought of as feminine until the 18th century.

Jewelry Accessories

Here, in today’s post —the second entry in our History of Jewelry series — we’re pleased to provide a broad overview of the evolution of jewelry accessories, as well as tell about what’s coming next week, in part three of our series. For Part One in the series, please read History of Jewelry Part One: An Overview.

Early Evidence of Jewelry as an Accessory

Different cultures are known for their own signature jewelry accessories. Ancient Egyptians are often depicted wearing large collar pieces and lapis lazuli stones (a deep blue metamorphic rock that’s prized since antiquity for its intense color), and jewelry adorned with gemstones was first worn by the Romans during the first century.

In Ancient Egypt (from predynastic times to the Greco-Roman period), gold jewelry was a sign of Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

Diamonds: A girl’s best friend. Infamously expensive and the height of luxury. The universal symbol of everlasting love. Liz Taylor owned the first documented million-dollar valued stone, and Lucy was in the sky with them.

For those fortunate enough to be born in April, the diamond is your birthstone. Legend has it diamonds have a number of attributes, including:

  • Healing powers
  • Ability to ward off evil
  • Protect against the plague
  • Bring the wearer longevity, happiness, beauty and strength

History of Diamond

One ancient theory posited that diamonds were formed from lightning bolts hitting the earth. As evidence of this way of thinking, in Sanskrit, a diamond is called vajra, which also means lightning, and in Hindu mythology, vajra was the weapon of Indra, the king of gods. Only the best for the king of kings.

So, are those born in April endowed with special powers in connection to their birthstone? Probably not, but that belief is Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to eight jewelers for promoting laboratory-grown diamonds in advertising that the agency claims might be deceptive or at the least, not in line with its own Jewelry Guide.

That particular code of federal regulations — formally known as the “Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries,” describes what businesses must do to avoid making deceptive claims about precious metal, pewter, diamond, gemstone, and pearl products. The intent is to prevent unfair or deceptive trade practices; practices that almost always lead to unsuspecting consumers being ripped off or worse.

FTC April 2019 Diamond Warning

And while the FTC has determined that laboratory-grown diamonds are real diamonds, the agency’s April 2, 2019 announcement said businesses must be crystal clear in their advertising that their product is man-made. In an article posted on here on the Custom Jewelry Blog last month (please see: Understanding Lab-grown Diamonds), we reported the FTC’s finding that lab-created diamonds share the Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

If you’re in the market for a diamond — often the case at this time of year what with love and engagements are in the air — you’ve likely come across laboratory-grown diamonds and may still have questions about, well, everything having to do with lab-grown diamonds (aka, synthetic diamonds).

The first laboratory-grown diamond was created more than 60 years ago when a Swedish industrial firm successfully developed a high-pressure, high-temperature process that mirrored the same chemical, physical and optical properties as traditional diamonds mined from the earth.

Side by side comparison lab-grown and mined diamonds

And while lab-grown diamonds have been around since the Eisenhower administration, their popularity didn’t really take off until recently, when commercialization of the technology put it on the same footing as “real” diamonds — those sparkling minerals created deep in the dirt over billions of years.

It was within the past decade that a new technology — known as chemical vapor deposition (CVD) — made it possible to rapidly produce high-quality diamonds in a laboratory setting at prices between $300 and $500 per carat instead of the $4,000 per carat price tag for such lab-grown gems before 2008.

When the cost of producing lab-grown diamonds began to decline, so did retail prices for these gemstones. As a result, lab-grown diamonds are now 25 percent to 30 percent less expensive than mined diamonds. Indeed, prices are expected to fall even more as production efficiencies increase, new competitors enter the market and the segment commoditizes.

And make no mistake about it: Laboratory-grown diamonds are real diamonds. That determination was made just last year when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended its jewelry guides, asserting that “a diamond is a diamond,” no matter its origin. The FTC determined that lab-created diamonds share the Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

If you were born in the month of March, you are fortunate to have the option of selecting between two gems as your birthstone — Aquamarine and Bloodstone. And while the two stones couldn’t be more different in appearance, each is steeped in history and each is defined by the purported power within these mystical birthstones.

According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), both stones are noted throughout history for providing protection to those who wear them. Aquamarine — also known as the poor man’s diamond — features colors of the ocean, ranging from deep greens and blues to warmer light greenish blue, hues that might be seen surrounding a Caribbean island, whereas Bloodstone is a variety of quartz that is barely translucent and appears mostly as an opaque, almost black-green jasper, speckled with bright red spots of iron oxides, which defines its name. It is this “blood” that purportedly brings strength to anyone who wears the stone.

Here’s what you need to know about both of March’s birthstones:

Aquamarine: Known as the Sailor’s Stone

Because aquamarine is tied so closely to the ocean (aqua is Latin for water and mare means sea) the gem was known for providing protection against storms at sea and provide safe passage for those who traversed the Mediterranean Sea as far back as 500 years before the birth of Christ. Roman sailors associated aquamarine with Neptune, the god of the sea, and Greek mariners were offered the same protection from Poseidon, their Greek god who held the same oceanic occupation.

Aquamarine Gemstone with Peridot

Aquamarine Gemstone (center) with Peridot (on the left and right)

Besides saving sailors, aquamarine reportedly took on other powers, including:

  • Keeping marriages together
  • Providing protection against foes in battle and lawsuits
  • Power to quicken the mind

The Romans believed the translucent stone possessed Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

We all wear it but how much do we know about the history of jewelry? Today’s post introduces the first in a five-part series on the history of jewelry, offering insights gained from thousands of years of advancement in jewelry making. These historic innovations range from simple beads in prehistoric times to the development of synthetic gems that can fool the layman — but not the professional jeweler.

Today’s column is an overview of that history — from 110,000 BC to the present day. It will be followed on March 27 with a description of jewelry accessories. Other historic columns will discuss wealth identifiers on April 24, and the religious connection on May 22. The series will conclude with a column on June 26 about the history behind engagement and wedding rings.

Egyptian bracelet with vintage engraving

Above: Egyptian bracelet with vintage engraving.

To begin, we look to 10 distinct periods of history in order to explore the origins of jewelry and its development over the centuries. Each of these periods were marked by skilled and innovative craftsmanship, advancements in jewelry making techniques, new mineral and gem discoveries, and trends that advanced the art of jewelry creation through each era.

Specifically, the 10 eras we’ll be covering today are: Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

The Rolex brand has been in the news a lot lately, and if you caught the 91st edition of the Academy Awards on Sunday night, you probably saw a Rolex commercial featuring film notables James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow and Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Then, earlier this week, Artisans de Genève — a Swiss-based watchmaking house known for its Rolex modifications — unveiled a stunning watch that serves as a tribute to Rolex’s rare 1966 Daytona 6240 watch. For Rolex collectors, aficionados, and wannabe owners, it’s a great time to be a fan.

Explaining the Rolex watch shortage

However, finding the Rolex model you desire, whether at an official licensed retailer, a Rolex store, or the secondary market for that matter, is another story. Why? Because there’s a Rolex shortage. And observers of this luxury watch brand that is renowned for its performance and reliability, say they have no idea why a Continue reading…

By: Shmukler Design 

There’s a sense of well-being when working with a jeweler who has gained your confidence when making an investment in a beautiful piece of jewelry, whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a loved one. Equally comforting is knowing that same jeweler can be trusted to take your treasured piece of jewelry and either repair it when broken or damaged, or to restore it to its original glory when it has lost some or all of its sparkle.

But first, we think it’s important that you understand the difference between repair and restoration when it comes to your fine jewelry. Simply put, repairs are performed by the jeweler to improve the integrity of an item. Restoration is performed in order to give new life to that glittering treasure.

Jewelry-Restoration-and-Repair

The Jewelers of America (JA), a 113-year-old network of jewelry businesses with more than 8,000 members nationwide, suggests fine jewelry be inspected at least once a year. That’s because such items are susceptible to wear and tear. Here at Shmukler Design in Laguna Hills, California, we offer the following five tips for jewelry repair and five additional suggestions for jewelry restoration: Continue reading…