Tag Archives: bracelets

Outlandish Jewelry Terminology

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Starting with “O”

Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu.  These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things.  Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc. 

Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today.  The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.”  Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.  

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Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces.  By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter.  Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you. 

Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings.  It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place.  In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.

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Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue.  A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.”   A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830).  It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).   

Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific.  To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.  

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Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes.  This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.    

Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.  

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Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt.  Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing.  Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree.  Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them).  The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”

Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry.  It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously).  It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes.  Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.     

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Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color.  These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.  

Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar.  Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through.  This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.  

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-Joe Leone 

How Much Should You Spend on Jewelry?

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The average U.S. household spends only $167 on jewelry per year, but that number varies greatly by region. The northeastern U.S., southern and central coastal California, and the east coast of Florida, for example, spend the most on jewelry per year, while the northwest region spends less than $50 annually per household.

The popular concept of smarter spending has a lot of people taking a closer look at how much they spend on everyday items, and jewelry is often an impulse buy. Self-help and finance blogs discuss budgeting and making realistic financial plans, which often results in cost-cutting or looking for ways to get some of your money back.

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But when you’re buying new jewelry, how much should you be willing to spend? What’s the price tag on feeling pretty or scoring a compliment from your moody boss? The obvious answer to this dilemma is: spend the amount that makes sense for you, whether that’s based on your region, your social circle, or your personal style. The decision, however, is more complicated than that, and probably varies with every piece you look at. It’s not easy to choose between shelling out more cash for nicer, longer lasting jewelry over less costly, trendier pieces. It’s hard to place a number on the value of the little boost in self-esteem you might get.

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Websites like Pinterest and Instructables make Do-It-Yourself a viable option for saving money on a lot of important items including jewelry, but there are certain pieces that are essentially impossible to DIY. And that’s one element of DIY that people often overlook before diving in to a project: the cost of the materials and tools, which is one part of what goes into jewelry-making. When you’re deciding how you want to better your budget, consider how original you would like your jewelry collection to be. If originality is important to you and you want handmade jewelry from an artist or smaller manufacturer on a site like etsy, plan to spend a little bit more than you might for a similar piece from a larger manufacturer, like Forever 21, who outsource their work and user cheaper materials specifically so they can offer their products at a low price point. Some smaller companies even begin to outsource once they gain popularity so they can manage the costs and offer their product to more customers, saving 400-500 percent by having someone else produce their designs.

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Choosing how much to spend on jewelry may also depend on the materials you are looking for. If you’re more concerned about the look than the actual material, sterling silver is a good substitute for silver and white gold, and purchasing gold-coated jewelry can save you a lot of money if you prefer the darker color. In addition, synthetic gemstones can be created to look like a natural gemstone, so if you are here because you are aiming to sell your diamonds, a man-made stone might be a great replacement.

Another consideration for choosing an amount to spend on jewelry is whether you value the experience of going into a physical store and trying on the jewelry or whether you are comfortable buying it online. Online stores are often cheaper, simply because renting a brick-and-mortar space is expensive for the business.

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If you are not looking for a specific piece, buying jewelry at an overstock or auction site can be a way to find great deals. Sale jewelry is typically marked down temporarily, while clearance and overstock jewelry are usually marked down because the manufacturer or retailer wants to make room for other products. Because there is an incentive to get rid of it, clearance and overstock jewelry can offer a steeper discount, but the selection may be limited.

One great rule of thumb for a jewelry purchase is the dollar-per-wear rule. To follow this rule, ask yourself how many times you anticipate wearing a particular piece, and if that number is the same as or lower than the price, then it is probably a good purchase. However you decide how much money to spend on jewelry, remember to make the choice for your own reasons, not someone else’s.

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How Much Jewelry is Too Much to Wear at Once?

9 Guidelines

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Coco Chanel once advised, “When accessorizing, always take off the last thing you put on.” It is commonly understood that jewelry overkill is a fashion no-no, but sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’ve crossed that line. What’s more, it’s hard to tell if you should take off the last two or three things you put on instead of just one.

There is no set rule about the number of pieces one should wear, but there are a few guidelines to follow when making the choice about whether to slip on that bracelet or to put it back on the velvet lining in your jewelry box and save it for next time.

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Guideline 1: Don’t allow your jewelry to distract from yourself and your outfit. When choosing what jewelry to wear, you should ask whether it will add or detract from your natural look and your outfit. For example, don’t wear a stack of bangles and a stack of necklaces. Opt for one stack if you’re a fan of the look. Wearing too much jewelry confuses onlookers and can ruin the beauty of your favorite piece. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Guideline 2: Although this contradicts the above statement that says there are no rules for how much jewelry to wear, there is at least one rule: Don’t wear big earrings and a big necklace. Instead, choose a focal piece to centralize your look and coordinate other pieces with it. (source: Wall Street Journal)

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Guideline 3: Coordinate your jewelry with the material you’re wearing. Thin silks and sheers do not go well with chunky jewelry, and the chunky jewelry can appear to be too much adornment. Similarly, tiny, thin chains on your necklace don’t usually suit a chunky sweater. (source: Street Directory, Wall Street Journal)

Guideline 4: Think about the vibe you’re aiming to achieve. If you’re going for boho, you can wear more jewelry. If you’re going for elegant, stay away from lots of jewelry, unless you have figured out how to layer necklaces like Coco. (Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 5: Pay attention to your hair. If you have long hair and you plan to wear it down, dangly earrings may look chaotic or messy. If you have short hair or thin hair and you wear huge earrings, they may stand out too much and be distracting. In this case, the size of the jewelry makes it look like you are wearing too much. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 6: Dress for the occasion. If you’re going to a fancy fundraiser dinner, match elegant jewelry and go big, but not too big. But if you’re going to the grocery store, class, or work, you might want to opt for less jewelry. (source: YouQueen)

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Guideline 7: No matter where you are, don’t wear jewelry that is noisy. Literally. While bangles are great, jingling bangles in a quiet library or at the workplace or not. Don’t be the annoying cubicle neighbor; quiet your jewelry. (source: Street Directory)

Guideline 8: If you’re wearing statement jewelry, wear one piece. Matching sets are usually too much. Save the necklace, bracelet, or earrings for another occasion. (source: Harper’s Bazaar)

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Guideline 9: Remember that jewelry isn’t a must-wear. Sometimes your clothing does all the work and you don’t need to add anything to it. For example, if you are wearing a top or dress with a low neckline, you don’t need jewelry. Your pretty collarbone is enough. However, choosing a pair of look-at-me statement earrings is a great idea to bring balance to your look. (source: Alexandra Styles)

Jewelry is a lot of fun, and well-placed jewelry can make you stand out. However, wearing too much jewelry at once or wearing all the wrong kind can make you stand out in a way you don’t want to. If you’ve got diamond jewelry you know is too much, contact us to find out more about your options to sell it!

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Jewelry Terms: Fascinatingly Fancy

Starting with “F”

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Faience – a “non clay based ceramic” the ancient Egyptians used to craft things with a flare of color and a flourish of glaze.  Those sneaky Pyramid builders would use this material to deceive onlookers into thinking they were seeing actual sapphire, malachite or turquoise.  Do not give you fiancée a faience ring or they will give you back a slap.

Fausse Montre – Legend has it, that there was once a time when people didn’t have cellular phones, and needed something called a “watch” to tell the time.   In fact, so coveted were these “watches,” that some dreadful individuals couldn’t even afford them.  For just such a rakish cad, the fausse montre, or “false watch,” was invented by the ever resourceful Frenchies.  This Georgian era device of deceit had the shape of a watch, the dials and hands of a watch, but, alas, only told the correct time twice per day…

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Fede Ring – these are the two-hands-grabbing-each-other rings.  They were originally conceived during the Roman times and remained popular in Europe for quite a while.  They eventually switched hands and became more of an Irish thing.  Certain people use them in lieu of diamond engagement rinds, including internationally renowned DJ Fedde Le Grand (one can assume, right?)

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Fer de Berlin – a German term, correct? Nope – French again.  It means “Berlin Iron,” and refers to a very specific style of jewelry that was worn during the turn of the 19th century.  Needing supplemental finances to combat the lilliputian warrior Napoleon and his advancing troops, Prussian citizens were ever so nicely asked to hand over their gold jewelry.  In exchange for their patriotic efforts, they received alternate, cast-iron jewelry, with the inscription “Ich gab Gold fur Eisen” which roughly translates to “I got screwed by the government.”

Ferronnière – here we have a cranial jewelry piece that first appeared during the renaissance period; it made a comeback during the 1830’s and then recently started popping up on the foreheads of girls at Coachella (even though they definitely don’t know what it’s called).  It’s a fine chain that loops around the forehead with a small gemstone in the middle.  It means “the blacksmith’s wife,” originating from a portrait Leo Da Vinci did (‘La Belle Ferronnière’) of a woman wearing this item, that he definitely had the hots for.

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Festoon – oh those NeoClassics and their love of festive jewelry.  This fellow surfaced during the middle part of the 18th century; a collection of flowers, fruit, leaves and other flouncy things.  Used in all sorts of jewelry forms, festoons are the fancy precursor to wearable Edible Arrangements.

Fibula – is indeed the name for a leg bone, but it also the thingy that the Romans used to clasp their togas together (to avoid anything funny happening on the way to the forum).  They are like super elaborate and fancy safety pins (minus the safety).

Fichu Pin – French dammes of the 1650’s wouldn’t be caught dead without these.  Anyone who was anyone wore a fichu, which is an elegant scarf that is draped around the shoulders, that is held together at the bosom with a beautiful brooch, the fichu pin.  Rumor has it that this jewelry piece received its name because when one inquired to the tailor about how it looked on them, the tailer would reply “It fichu perfect.”

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Figural – this style of jewelry (of having little figurines attached to things) goes all the way back to the ancient times, with popularity pockets popping up throughout history.  The reason for the unrelenting admiration is simply because people will always like little miniatures of big, living things; of animals, bugs, mythic creatures…themselves.

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Fleur de Lys – is a highly recognizable, stylized version of a lily, used in many jewelry pieces all over the globe.  French in origin, it was often seen in the family crests and the coat of arms of many monarchs, who liked to showcase how florally fluent they really were.  There was an abrupt cessation to this style after the French Revolution, as certain people suddenly didn’t want to be identified as the ‘ruling class’ so much anymore (watch ‘Les Mis’ for further clarification, and to see a bald Anne Hathaway cry.)

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Florentine finish – this is a technique that can be applied to the surface of metals to make them appear like they are made up of numerous alloy types.  The different pieces intersect and interlock in an alternating pattern that looks cool but can make you dizzy if you stare at it for too long.  A ‘Florentine’ finish is also what non-meat-eaters get (in the form of iron-rich spinach) in lieu of Canadian bacon on Eggs Benedict.

French Jet – if you couldn’t afford actual jet (or your own private jet) in the 1800’s, you wore French jet to funerals.  It’s just black glass that resembles the precious gem.  Since it is French by name, it is inherently fancy, and lets you mourn in fiercely fabricated style.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-French-jet-jewelry-black-noir-glassFringe Necklace – once again, a jewelry commodity first made relevant by the ancient Egyptians (the Tom Fords of their day), the fringe necklace showcases numerous pendant-like units that hang from a chain or cord.  They went out of vogue after a few centuries but were figuratively and literally resurrected in the 1850’s.  Still the go-to necklace for anyone into #ThrowbackThursdays or #FringebackFridays.

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-Joe Leone

Jewelry Terms: Endearing

Starting with “E”

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Edna May – is a necklace type that has two stones hanging from it; the second one attached below the first and ensconced in a cluster of smaller stones.  Worn mostly during the turn of the 20th century, it derives its nomenclature from an American actress of the same name, who often sported one.  While she starred in the film “David Copperfield,” she wouldn’t be caught dead wearing copper.

Egyptian Blue – who knew that those fancy pharaoh, ancient Egyptians used synthetics?  Egyptian Blue refers to a man-made pigment that was ubiquitously used in art and architecture, intended to mimic tantalizing turquoise and luscious lapis lazuli stones.  It’s a composition made of quartz, copper, some organic plant material and possibly mummies.

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Electric Jewelry – is kind of hilarious.  It’s a style that was all the rage during the latter part of the 1800’s, where jewelry pieces and ornaments designed for the hair would move tither and thither.  This mystical phenomenon (referred to as “en tremblant”) was achieved with the aid of a tiny battery hidden in the piece.  This whimsical tradition still lives on today, in little dancing snowmen pins your gramma gets you around the holidays from CVS, for two dollars.

En Esclavage – is a somewhat gaudy style used in necklaces and bracelets, where several #swag chains hold together a bunch of plaques.  The plaques can feature all manner of things, such as images of loved ones, flowers, jewels and even other plaques – in a sort of plaque-ception.

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En Pampille – that’s right; get ready to be pampered in a waterfall of gemstones.  Here is another trend of the roaring 1800’s, where the jewelry (pendants, brooches, earrings, cell phone cases) featured sparklers of decreasing size, culminating in little pointy, stabby shapes.

via Pinterest.com
via Pinterest.com

Enseigne – is a kind of badge that was worn on hats during the illustrious 1500’s.  These enseignes could feature a portrait-like image of the wearer, a family crest, a favorite figure from mythology or this popular story book called “The Bible.”  Precious metals, lavish enameling, pricey gemstones and the like were the norm on these widespread badges, which many people donned – except, of course, those who exclaimed “We don’t need no stinking badges!”

Entourage – …please, no references to the show/“film”… this is a ring style where a prominent center stone is encircled by a group of more diminutive stones (routinely diamonds).  This method of setting is known as “cluster setting” – as in, “I’m in the center of a cluster of fools, namely Johnny Drama and Turtle.”  Sorry, couldn’t resist.

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Equipage – a preterite French phrase that connotes all of the essential every day articles that people would carry around with them.  This falls into the jewelry category, because all these components would be contained in a little Étui.  And that is:

Étui – a small, decorative container that French courtesans and maids alike would carry around with them.  Basically, you put your stuff in there.  They were usually gold or silver, and had intricate design patterns etched onto them.  The not so fair sex would sometimes use étuis too, but larger in size, so they didn’t feel so emasculated for carrying around a little fancy canister.

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Escalier – is a jewelry style featuring huge triangular links, used in bracelets.  A miniature version of this would be replicated for rings in a bezel mounting.  Escalier comes from the time period known as “retro,” which followed Art Deco (so the mid-1930-40’s).  Today we think of anything from the past as retro, so you’d probably instinctively call any Escalier themed jewelry ‘retro,’ without even knowing how accurate that was:  *mind blown*

-Joe Leone